“Do Authors Read While Writing?” 500th Anniversary Multi-Author Special Blog Event


"Do Authors Read While Writing?"



Readers often wonder about their favorite authors. I know I have. 

What does the process look like? Do they have certain superstitions when it comes to writing? What drives them to write? And so many other inquires occur as book readers, causing us to wonder just what makes a writer tick. 

Today marks a special occasion for the Writing in the Modern Age blog. After six years of guest authors and freelance writers visiting – not to mention featuring countless books – we’ve reached our 500th post. Yay! Happy Anniversary to us, right? ;)


So, I thought…what better way to celebrate than to bring back the heart of the blog in a sense, by asking many talented authors some questions…


Are authors, in fact, superstitious about reading other books while they work on their writing projects? More than eighty authors have weighed in on this question, among a few other inquiries we wondered about, such as:


Does writing energize or exhaust you?

How do you cure a case of writer’s block?

Do you want your book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

What kind of research do you do?

We've addressed these questions, and many more. It's always fascinating to get this kind of perspective from published writers. Get a true glimpse on how the creative process works! Without further ado, let’s see what these cool authors have to say about their writing…
 




Mark Iles – science fiction, fantasy, and horror author. 8 published books, accredited Copywriter and Proofreader, features, B2B, film & book reviews, blogger. Martial artist and war veteran.


Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?


I really struggle to read now, as ironic as it sounds. This is for several reasons, the first being that all the time I’m reading I’d much rather be writing. I also find myself critiquing the books as I go, how this or that could have been better, picking up grammatical errors, and often anticipating the endings. You just can’t help it.

There are a few writers, however, who do grip my attention – Kevin J. Anderson, for instance. He’s an incredible writer and once I pick up a page-turner of his I can’t put it down. John Wyndham’s another, although I’ve read each of his at least five times. I get around this issue by buying audible whenever possible, and listening to them as I drive or potter about the house. It’s cheating, I know, but this way I can keep on top of most of my reading list while freeing up more time to write.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

For me the first one is believing that you’ll make it straight away. I don’t think we fully appreciate that writing is a learning process, as much as any apprenticeship is. It takes years of study to get anywhere near publishable, and I don’t believe that even those who publish their first book submitted their first draft – it had to be honed to perfection, or as near as damn it.
Then there are the sites that say they are ‘looking for authors’. Remember that old maxim, that ‘if something looks too good to be true it…’ trust me, it is. These people are just looking for someone to pay their wages, and they’ll say anything to make you part with your cash. I always wonder if anyone at all made it from treading this route and I think it’s awful how they prey on people’s ‘need’ to be published.

Lastly, that having a book published is going to make you a fortune – it probably isn’t. I’ve learned that the best way into a reader’s heart is to publish as regularly as you can, so that they keep buying your books. I’m aware that I need to up my game here, and my new year’s resolution is to finish at least one book a year from now on.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I research quite avidly prior to starting out the work, but it depends what it’s about. I write sci-fi and so the science must be right. Readers will soon pick up on the fact you’ve got it wrong. If, say, it’s a cave scene I’ll go visit one and immerse myself in it. I’ll close my eyes, listening to sounds, what it smells like, et cetera, what the air itself feels like. Of course I’ll research on the internet or at the university library, but there’s no replacement for actually being in the exact place, or one as similar as possible.
 





Linda Heavner GeraldAuthor of all genres

Do you read books for entertainment while you're working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?


No, I do not read while I write because I believe it will distract from my process. Writing is precious to me. I try to work on my books each day in some way; either writing, marketing, editing, social media, or a dozen other things.

What inspired you to write? or What inspired your latest work?

I believe my inspiration for my books comes from God. Six years ago, I determined that a vision, which I experienced each night, was from God. After praying, I found myself drawn to my computer where I wrote my first book, Beaufort Betrayal, in two weeks. Upon completion, I realized that God had blessed me with a special talent of writing. Six years later, I have written and published fifteen novels. Awards from FAPA (Florida Authors and Publishers Association) as well as chosen by the readers as “One of Fifty Great Writers You Should Be Reading.” Also awards from NovelUnity, and recognition from Women’s Empowerment Group. My town of Port St Joe, Florida supports my efforts with tremendous encouragement which I deeply appreciate.

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

My goal in writing is to demonstrate that all of us “mess up each day.” God waits to welcome us back. My books are stories of redemption. Before I write, I always pray for His guidance. Without being “in your face”, my message is soft and subtle. 






Susanne MatthewsMulti-genre, hybrid author who writes romantic suspense, romantic thrillers, mild paranormal suspense, contemporary romance, Christian romance suspense, women’s fiction, YA, historical romance, and holiday themed novels

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

While I’m writing a novel, or even revising one for republishing which seems to be pretty well all I do these days, I rarely have time to read much of anything. I find that since I’ve become an author, reading for pleasure is something I seem to have less and less time to do. Why? I’m not quite sure, but here are some of my thoughts on the matter. Time seems to be in shorter and shorter supply these days. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old and slowing down, or it could be because of the increase in the demands for my attention, which gives me less time to spend doing the things I used to. Another reason could be my abject fear that when reading something I’ll inadvertently incorporate some of the ideas into my own work. After reading about the plagiarizing of Nora Roberts’s books by another author I enjoyed, I’m terrified I could accidentally use a line or something myself. Therefore, I keep my reading to times when I am between books. Better to be safe than sorry.

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

What I want most from my writing is the chance to entertain readers. I can think of no greater thrill than meeting someone and have them tell me how annoyed they are because they started reading my book and couldn’t put it down. They left tasks undone because they had to keep reading to find out what happens next. Being able to drag someone into my mind, my work, gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. That will be my legacy. And as long as someone says “I couldn’t put it down” about every book I write, I’ll know I’ve succeeded.





Michael J. Sahno - Author of fiction & non-fiction

Do you read books for entertainment while you're working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I believe it will detract from my creative process if I let someone else's fiction influence a WIP; consequently, I only read for entertainment in between writing my novels.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I want each book to stand on its own. I don't write in a serial format, but I hope readers will enjoy their first exposure to my novels enough to want to read the others.

Links: 







Olga Núñez Miret - multi-genre author, translator and reviewer


Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I know, because I’ve read it, that some authors feel they should not read while they write, or at least they should not read in the same genre, as it might influence their writing in some way (not a good way, I guess). I also know a writer who described her writing process as merely following the characters and peeping in on what they did, and she could not read while she wrote a particular story, as that distracted her from the task. That has never been the case for me. I’m first and foremost a reader, and although I’ve been writing for a long time, I’ve had periods in my life when I haven’t written (or at least I haven’t written fiction), but I’ve never stopped reading. 

I started reading more books by indie authors since I published my first book in 2012, and I have also become a book reviewer (I am a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and any authors interested can check here). It’s true that now I pay more attention to technique and take mental notes of things I like that others do (no plot points, but the way the story is told, or how to inform the readers of the background or previous story, for example), but I sometimes read non-fiction books and also read in genres I don’t write, and I’ve never felt it detracts from my writing. I’ve never needed an excuse to read, but you never know what can spark an idea or where you can find that piece of information you needed.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It usually energizes me, but it depends on which stage of the process I’m in. While I’m writing, and because I’m not much of a plotter, I enjoy discovering the story, or at least the details of the story, as I go along. At some point I start writing faster because I have to get to the end. And that’s a great feeling. Editing is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I always let the manuscript rest for a while and then I go back to it with some trepidation. I always expect it to be pretty bad, and that means I’m sometimes pleasantly surprised. I don’t mind the initial editing and changing things, but when it comes to reading it over and over again to find the tiny mistakes; I end up feeling quite bored. That is compounded in my case because I translate my own books (either from English into Spanish or vice versa, depending on which language I wrote the original in), and that means I reread the original again when I translate it, and in more depth (that is good for finding continuity errors), and then I have to correct both versions, so it can get exhausting.

I have written some books at times when things were quite difficult in my life, books with a positive outlook, and they helped me keep my spirits up. 

On the other hand, I recently tried setting up a bit of time each day to write something, and although I ended up with a story, it didn’t have the same effect on me. I guess each person is different when it comes to writing. I’d rather find time for a specific project I’m interested in, than just write as an obligation. 

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project?

I’ve always stayed away from historical subjects, not because I’m not interested in them, but because I worry about not getting the details right, the language, et cetera, no matter how much research I do. So, setting most of my books in the present (the present at the time I wrote the story or a non-defined present-like time), there isn’t always much evident research needed for the story. But the details can require a fair amount of research. Sometimes it might have to do with the setting (I write a thriller series with a psychiatrist as a protagonist. I’m a psychiatrist, so that side of things is not a problem, but because she travels, I need to try and make sure the names of places and the details make sense), others with specific laws, practical information (depending on the type of crime)… But I wrote a book about a TV program and a baking competition and I had to research recipes, for example… I don’t normally start with the research, but I realize as I write that I need to find out some things, and then I either leave it for later, or, quite likely, I research what I need. That sometimes might send me in a different direction.

I also do translations, and I’ve worked on some projects that have required more research than my own books, because I want to make sure the details are right, and sometimes because there might be issues of localization, or the books might take place in a world I know little about (a big tanker, for example, the world of corporate business, or even a BDSM relationship). Believe me; I’ve learned quite a few things thanks to the books I’ve translated.






Amber DaultonRomance Author and Blogger

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I love reading and have so many books waiting on my Kindle, but I usually don’t read while writing. I just don’t want someone else’s voice in my head, dictating my actions. In the past, when I have read while working on a project, I start second-guessing my style, grammar, and language because what I just read differs from my own writing. Sometimes I wonder if I’m good enough and think why should I write when another author has already written a similar story or plot to mine. In this business, it’s easy for an author to lose confidence. Everyone has different styles and opinions, and a lot of people are very verbal about it, especially in negative reviews. I do everything I can to keep my spirits up and stay focused on the task at hand, and that means no reading for a few months, or at least until I finish my WIP. After I’m done writing, I usually take a two or three week break and catch up on the books in my queue. Then I start writing again and the cycle repeats.

Blogsite –
http://www.amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com
Amazon Author Page –
http://amzn.to/14JoZff








Andy Ruffett - Crime Fiction Author


Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?


Yes, I read books for entertainment while I'm working on a writing project. Sometimes I do nothing but read. And I don't think that's healthy for a writer of my stature. I believe you need to read as much as you write, because if you don't you fall behind one of your jobs: reading or writing. For a writer, it's not bad to fall behind your reading. But to fall behind your writing? Now, that's bad. And that has been me for many months now. It's not that I don't write at all, it's just that I don't produce as many words as I used to. But I do not believe that my reading is detracting from my writing. A writer has to read. The only way a writer improves his or her craft is by reading. If you don't read while composing a project, you're never going to get better at the work you're currently working on or any future writes.



It's not like being an actor or actress and watching movies or television shows or plays of phenomenal actors and actresses. An actor cannot learn that way because they are not acting, they are just observing. An actor can only get better at their job by understanding the words they have to perform, delivering them perfectly, and observing how the other actors or actresses interact with the character the actor or actress is portraying.

An actor cannot learn by only watching, but a writer can only learn how to write by reading and then writing.



What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?


Funnily enough, the writing. Sometimes I do not want to write because I really do not know where I am carrying the story. When I was younger, it was much easier for me to write. But I think with all the wacky ideas in my head and in notebooks, I keep giving myself mental road blocks. 


If you’ve ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer’s block?


Well, it's probably ironic for me to answer this question given my answer to the last one, but how you cure writer's block is by focusing on a new writing project, taking a walk or some activity that leads you outside so you can breathe fresh air and not worry about the block, and then doing something that completely distracts you from the writing process like watching a movie, eating dinner with friends or family, going for a long bike ride. Whatever you need to do to forget the project is now your main focus. Then, go to bed and don't focus on the project until the next morning. By then, you will have been so distracted by your other projects (that don't involve writing) that sudden insight should occur. If not, take a longer break. Maybe a week or a month. If you're still blocked, read or watch something that you know is filled with excellent writing. Then ask yourself: How do I accomplish that?

And once you know the answer, do just that.

I know of one author who does not believe writer's block actually exists. She believes that it's just pure laziness on the part of the writer. Well, I think that's quite cruel like headaches don't exist either, but she has a point. I mean, writer's block is simply the brain not being able to compute the next stretch of the story. I do, however, believe that if you plan your full story from beginning to end you shouldn't have to struggle because you planned so far ahead. But I'm not a planner when it comes to writing. Well, not usually. So I can't help you there.






Marie LavenderMulti-genre Author and Blogger

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

It depends on the book I’m writing, and how focused I am. Also, if it’s a long project, I’m going to want to pick up a favorite read. Sometimes I read books from the same genre to prepare myself for an upcoming project, but during the writing process, I won’t read in that specific genre/sub-genre because I don’t want to be too heavily influenced by those books. I’d like to make my own mark on the industry. For the past year, I was going through some personal stuff, and I found it difficult to get much writing or reading accomplished. But now, I am getting back into the flow of everything, and I’ve reignited my habit of being a bibliophile (book lover).

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? What does it mean to you?

Hands down, my favorite is from Natalie Goldberg… 

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” 

To me, it means that we should be brave as writers. Open ourselves up to new experiences, and delve deep inside to the dark truths we might have. Use those emotions and pour them into our stories. Make a story as real as possible, even if it’s a little uncomfortable or touches close to home. Readers will better connect with what we know all too well – something reminiscent of the human condition.

Did you study writing in school, or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or, have you learned everything on your own?

I took writing classes in high school and college. I actually majored in Creative Writing. But I will never overlook the benefits of a self-taught scenario. There are so many writers’ resources available these days, and I have continued to draw on those to develop my skills as a novelist. 






Maggie Blackbirdromancing Canada's Indigenous People

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I always read during the writing process.  If I didn't, I'd never get to read, LOL, because I'm always writing.  And it's a nice way to study another author's work. 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me. When I'm fast drafting, I always feel excited.






Stefan VucakAuthor of contemporary political drama and science fiction that challenges what is possible

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

When I am immersed in a new book project – once I get going, that is – I try to write something every day. Sometimes I generate lots of pages, and there are days when I simply spend time editing what I have written. It all depends on my inspiration, mood, and things going on around me. And sometimes I simply don’t feel like writing. However, like a drug junkie, the creation process gives me an intense buzz and I need my daily fix. Writing also takes a personal emotional toll and there are moments when I need to recharge. That is when I turn to something else like reading … among other things.

I am an avid reader and my interest spans many genres, fiction and non-fiction alike. I believe it all sits somewhere in my mind, adding to the store of information that I can draw on in my own writing. For me, reading a book while working on my own is not a distraction at all, and there is no danger that I will lose the thread of my story. I always prepare a detailed outline for a book, and that helps to keep me focused. Sometimes, though, my characters take me in an unexpected direction, but that is part of the fun. The outline keeps them in check and prevents me from wondering off into the forest of irrelevancy. Anyway, cradling a good book with a tumbler of bourbon at my side is a necessary recharging process.

So, I would say read as you write and open your imagination to new ideas and visions.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I don’t know how many times I have read a comment on social media by an author proudly proclaiming how he or she simply sits down and starts writing a book … and keeps going until it is finished. Such comments are invariably followed by tales of woe having to go through several drafts, edits, rewrites, and general frustration that the book has not turned out exactly as envisioned. I am not surprised. Sitting down and pounding away is like trying to build a house without a plan. No one does that, not if they expect a properly built structure. In my view, it is the same with a book.

Having reviewed a raft of books from new writers, apart from technical problems such as incorrect grammar and poor editing, the stories lack depth and cohesion. It was clear that most of them were not thought out in sufficient detail. Why? The author probably did not write a detailed outline, or only had a few bullet points for the plot. My advice? Do the research and write that outline before getting into the story!

If you’ve ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer’s block?

You are sitting at your writing desk, chewing the end of that pen or staring at the computer wondering what the hell to do next. The words just don’t want to come and your mind is a blank slate. Let’s face it, one of the procrastination demons has gotten to you and poisoned your mind. Writing is damn hard work. It’s lonely, your bones fossilize as you spend hours frozen in one position, and irritation seeps in when you hit that mental pothole. You have to accept that sometimes words just don’t flow no matter how much you are straining. If they won’t come, they won’t come. A cup of coffee or something stronger may lubricate the old brain pan and help you get out of the mental pothole. I have found the best way to avoid falling into that pothole is to have a detailed book outline where all the major elements of the plot, sub-plots, and story sequences have been worked out beforehand. You are building a street map for your novel. It tells you exactly how to get to where you want to end up.  

Everybody hits a snag that grinds your writing to a stop. That’s the price we pay as writers. However, taking an easy way out by procrastinating will not get that page written. Revisit your outline. Focus on the plot thread that has unraveled and see what needs to be done to weave it back into the story. The words will flow again.






Faye HallAustralian Historical Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I don't read at all while I'm writing a book because I'm too scared that some of another author's writing/ideas may slip into my own.

If you're a published author, what has changed in the book industry? Is it harder to get a break and get readers? Has the atmosphere in the writing world changed?

I think the biggest problem at the moment is so many people want so much for free that not all readers are willing to spend the price of a coffee on a book.  I've also noticed that so many younger people aren't reading like they used to, which I think is sad.  So many people are getting lost in the world of social media and no longer allowing themselves to get lost in books anymore.  Like I said, I think this is very sad.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Exhaust me!  By the time I've finished a book and sent it away to the publisher I'm quite drained and need a few days/weeks before I can move onto the next project.






Karina Bartowmystery & romance author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I’ve honestly never found reading as an impediment to my process, but I don’t always have time for it. When I do, I’m often refreshed and find pointers from others’ styles. While editing my latest novel, for instance, I needed to reduce my inactive verbs. Reading helped me think of active ones I don't use a lot, and it gave me ideas of ways to arrange sentences that make them less passive.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I want each to be unique and a new experience for my readers, so my work never goes stale. At the same time, however, I think it’s important to have a few signatures carried throughout every story, something that sets your work apart. That way, readers know what they can expect and even come to anticipate it. With a series, especially, you want a good mix of surprises and familiarity.






A. B. Funkhauser - Satirist

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Yes to books, no to distraction. In fact I mix it up with hefty doses of HBO docs, true crime non-fiction and biographies to knock character traits loose. I love a good yarn, love penning them, too. For me, the best inspiration comes from the newspaper, grocery store aisle convos and stories ripped from real life. Then I take what I’ve learned and twist it out of shape. Sometimes, what I get goes on to the page; other times, it just makes me laugh, keeps me up, thinking. That’s what keeps me writing. 







Diane Merrill Wigginton – Historical Romance/Young Adult Historical Author/Publisher

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

When I moved to Montana last year one of my neighbors found out that I was an author and invited me to join her book club, so I did. I have so much fun with the ladies, but I don't always like the books that they choose. Yet I always learn something new from them, so I read what they pick. The answer to the question is "Yes," I read for pleasure when I am writing and "No," it doesn't detract from my process at all.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I guess that would depend on the kind of scene I am writing. If it's a very emotional, gripping scene where I have to dig deep and write a tragic scene, then it can be very draining on me and I might be wrung out after two or three pages. Otherwise, I enjoy writing and it can leave me feeling very energized even after writing ten or fifteen pages.







J. R. WirthMS, LMFT/Author middle grade through adult—paranormal, supernatural, and thrillers, all with psychological suspense. Ezine poetry and short stories; and traditional publishing – short stories, and novels.

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I read a lot whether it is a magazine, an ezine, news, web streaming, books, et cetera. I often read while I am creating. It often inspires and instigates. I’m currently finishing up a book which is almost complete and during the process I read Dan Brown’s Inferno, and am almost finished with The Lost Symbol.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I find writing both energizes and exhausts me. When creating and then editing (fixing and expounding on) material, I get “brain pumped,” which fuels more creative words and thoughts to flow.  However, I give so much that sometimes I wear myself out. At other times I may delay getting started because I know the energy I will expend, will, most likely, wear me out. 





Tina Donahue - multi-genre romance author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Since I finish a chapter a day (4k to 5k words), plus doing revisions, I’m pretty much wiped out when I finish. I’ll admit to watching TV then to unwind and not to have to think, except maybe to revisit what I’d written that day in order to enhance the chapter. When I read books, I want the full day so I can finish and not have any distractions.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

The only time I’m energized and relaxed is when I write. In between projects, I’m antsy and unsettled. I need to write as much as I need to breathe and eat. It’s necessary to my happiness.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project?

I research via the net (it has everything), and do it thoroughly (plus an outline) before I write one word. How long it takes to research depends upon the book and genre. For example, my Spanish historical (1488) required tons of research about clothing, furnishings, culture during that time, et cetera. With a contemporary romance featuring a computer whiz, I had to learn that. Since I’m no geek, that research took weeks.






P.T. Macias - Paranormal Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I don't read books, because I don't want them to influence my writing. Yes, for a long time I did believe that it would detract from my process. I do love to read but I haven't read since I started writing in 2007. 

I decided to start reviewing, so I hope it works out. 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I do want each book to stand on its own, but all of my series connect via characters and the earth realm. I have the supernatural community on the Earth realm where they coexist with humanity. The Vhampiers and Dragons have their own realm. I love that my series connect because I believe it gives the reader that feeling of joy and familiarity when encountering their favorite characters again in other books. 






Vina Arno - Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I can’t live without books, so I read continuously regardless of my writing projects. I read for entertainment. It doesn’t detract me at all.

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

I want to tell compelling stories. Having said that, my ultimate goal is to make fiction writing my day job.

Links:








Fiona TarrReligious/Mythological Fantasy Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I never read for entertainment while I am writing. I focus on writing my current project because reading other authors can distract me, but also influence my writing style. 

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

I hope to reach a point where I can write full time, but more importantly, I would like to know that readers are entertained and inspired by my books.

Links:







Charity ParkersonAuthor of M/M Romance

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I don’t read when I’m writing. I wouldn’t want my writing style influenced by anyone else. To stay consistent and true to my style, I avoid books in the same genre as me.


How do you cope with bad reviews?

I don’t read them. For years, I used to obsess over bad reviews. They would stop me from writing for weeks. Over the years, I’ve learned they’re not for me. They’re not even about me. No one reads the same story. Everyone sees books through their experiences. So, I choose not to read them and let them influence me. I write for myself, to make myself happy, and I’m blessed to have people who want to read my books to make them happy.






Jeffery Martin BotzenhartMulti-genre author


Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I do not read other books for entertainment while writing. I find that it distracts me.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Depending on the story I'm writing, my research focuses on the setting, technology in the time period, and general ideas about the way people dressed or talked, especially if it's a historical piece.

What inspired your latest work?

Perfection, soon to be released by Solstice, was actually inspired by Romeo and Juliet. An idea of a doomed romance came to mind. Roughly a month later, I found the perfect setting for my story. Being a huge fan of James Bond movies, I envisioned a sprawling story, featuring action, technology, and romance. I believe I achieved what I set out to do.






David W. ThompsonDark fiction and paranormal author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

For the majority of the time I am working on a story, I will take occasional breaks from my efforts to read. When crafting critical portions and during the conclusion of any WIP, I'm not good for much else and read very little. 

Between the end of my 1st draft and starting the editing process, I may read several books to get some separation from my story. Fresh eyes and mind, I guess... or at least that's my story!

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? 

Both, actually. My short stories for instance aren't "related" at all. With the "Legends" trilogy, all three tales are stand alone in their own right. However, they do follow the same family line. But with a century separating the stories, the main characters are quite different...only the ancient evil, the family's scourge, remains the same throughout.  

What do you want to accomplish with your writing? 

My main goal is to entertain. I consider that to be a writer's primary job. If I can shed some light on past (or present) injustices, or inspire someone to look at something in a different light, well that's icing on the literary cake. 





K.C. SprayberryAuthor of Teen Books

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I don’t read a book while I’m working on a project. Yes, I believe it will influence what I’m working on and I might get off track. However, if I get stuck while writing, I will take a break and read a book totally unrelated to my genre.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It all depends. Most times, I’m energized, the characters are in control, and the flow is working well. There are moments, though, where I’m having to slow down, take my time with the details, and I’ll be exhausted when a particularly tense scene is completed.







Chrys Fey - author, editor, and blogger

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I always read for entertainment, but whether or not I read really depends on my mood, not if I am working on a writing project or what genre that project may be. I go through reading ruts where I don’t read as much as I usually would. Mostly this is because I can’t decide what I feel like reading; nothing appeals to me at the time.

When I was younger, I was always reading and writing. If I wasn’t doing one, I was doing the other. And I would read books similar to what I was working on all the time, because that’s what I was interested in. It took me years to write my first book, so not reading a genre I love for years would’ve been quite silly.

Recently I have noticed that I don’t read as much when I am writing. This isn’t a conscious decision, though. I expend so much energy in writing, and it consumes so much of my time, that I tend to be too tired to read afterward.

If you've ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer's block?

What cures one writer’s block, may not cure another writer’s block. Or what works one time for you, may not work a second time.

My biggest case of writer’s block happened when I was seventeen and lasted a month or two. What I did then was figure out what was causing my block. After some time, I realized I was blocked on my current project because I had matured, and my characters had matured with me, but the work I had done previously (three books) did not fit with what I was currently doing, so, I set off on the task of rewriting that series and recreating the concept. This didn’t bother me. Instead, it excited me. I had a blast writing the new series. All six or seven years of writing that new series was a pure joy.

Did you study writing in school, or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or, have you learned everything on your own?

I learned everything on my own, from the moment I started writing at the age of twelve to now. I am constantly learning and improving my craft. I don’t believe you need a degree in English Literature to be a writer, but, if I could have, I would’ve taken classes or studied writing in college, because that’s what I yearned to do. My life led me down a different path, though, making that impossible. So, I became my own MFA professor. I devoured books and wrote all the time, the two most important things a writer needs to do to grow. If there’s one thing I want aspiring writers to know, it’s that you don’t need a degree to write or to publish. As a matter of fact, I have my GED.






Empi Baryeh Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Yes, I read for entertainment while working on a writing project. I may stay away from books with plots that sound similar to what I’m working on, but I’d certainly read other books.

If you’ve ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer’s block?

Music inspires me in general, so I listen to a playlist of my all-time favorite songs. I also take the opportunity to binge read or watch TV series. If the block doesn’t lift within a few days, I go back to the story and start reading it from the beginning, which usually helps to figure out what isn’t working for me in the first place.

How do you cope with bad reviews? 

As long as I have more positive reviews than negative, I don’t worry too much about my review average, but I do worry about the content of a bad review. Some reviewers are so brutal with their choice of words.

I cope by reminding myself that not everyone will love my book, and the biggest names in the business have one-star reviews too. I take a step back to analyze what the reader didn’t like to see if there are lessons I can pick for future projects.

Website: https://www.empibaryeh.com/            




Virginia BabcockMulti-genre author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process? 

I read books all the time. When I’m writing it makes it both harder to concentrate on my reading AND write. Lately, I’ve been picking fast-moving books that grip me or old favorites. This way I can spend less time reading, which frees up time to write and saves brain space for writing.

If you’ve ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer’s block?

Yes. I’ve had some killer cases of it. I’m not through my last case yet. But, focusing and trying to get some done has helped. To keep going, I’m limiting editing so as to not stop the flow of creativity. I’ll cut out the bad stuff and perfect later. 

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? What does it mean to you?

Yes: “A writer is a reader moved to emulation.” By Saul Bellow. This is why I write.








S. CindersRomance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I honestly do not have time to read. However, I love books, so instead of reading traditionally, I listen to audio books at night. BTW, it can make for some really crazy dreams. 

That being said, I don't think it deters from my writing. I think that each story is unique and beautiful in its own right. Usually what I am reading at the time is VERY different from what I am writing so it feels like a break.

And we know as authors that it is rare we have the chance to really sit back and relax.




Tom Johnson multi-genre author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Yes, I’ve been reading for pleasure for 70 years. The entertainment value of reading while creating your own worlds cannot be stressed enough. We are all influenced by other writers. Those who don’t read usually fall flat when trying to entertain.

What inspired you to write? or What inspired your latest work?

I was a fan of the pulp genre, action stories set in the 1930s & ‘40s, as well as jungle romance adventures by authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs. My first attempt at writing, in fact, was influenced by Burroughs. I created the JUR series that eventually ran for six issues.

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? What does it mean to you?

"It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish."  - S. I. Hayakawa

This has always inspired me while writing. I want to create my own worlds and characters, and introduce them to readers.






Pamela Q. Fernandesauthor, doctor and podcaster

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I prefer not to read other books because the words or style tends to bleed into my writing. So I'm usually more focused when I write my books if I don't read someone else's work. 

What inspired your latest work? 

My latest work was inspired by sports. I actually started writing a book on soccer but found with my Indian background, I knew so much about cricket. That got me thinking of a sports series. Soon I wrote Bowled, which is book one in the series with Touchpoint Press and three more to follow. 





Linda Diane Wattley – Author who writes fiction and nonfiction to strengthen and encourage others…

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

While working on writing projects, I continue to read and review books because it gives me a break from my project. It's like a different part of my brain being used. Reading always relaxes me.





K.T. Rose Dark fiction and Suspense Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Sometimes. They seem to help me get back in touch with my inner thoughts and remind me of what I need to keep in mind when I'm polishing a draft. It only detracts me from writer's block. It also helps me open up my mind to all types of options. If I'm stuck, reading other books reminds me that there isn't just one way to reach the end. Never be afraid of investigating other scenarios or outcomes.

How do you cope with bad reviews?

I read them and determine if it's worth considering as I write the next book. Sometimes, I blow them off. Perhaps my stuff isn't for that reader, and that's okay. There are lots of popular books that aren't for me. It comes with the trade. A bad review isn't the end of the world. I'll keep writing for those who like my writing and want more.

Website: https://kyrobooks.com/
Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/K.T.-Rose/e/B01N4T91M2/  






Khaled Talib Thriller Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I don’t have a hard and fast rule when it comes to reading while writing. It depends on how much time I have. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. 

From my personal experience, it has not detracted me from my process as I am clear in my mind the direction I want to take. I do, however, feel a sense of guilt, as if I have abandoned my project. But I’ll ignore the feeling and continue to read before going back to my own writing. 

If you’re a reader, you can read anytime, anywhere. But if you’re a writer, you won’t have that same kind of privilege. I won’t pick up a second book to read when I’m ready to write again. 

Breaks in between, which could mean days or weeks, may not necessarily mean picking up another book because I need to decompress my mind from seeing words. So, watching a movie or a TV series is fine, but reading a page from a book is mentally strenuous, at least in my case.
Reading takes time, writing takes time. I’m not the most disciplined person on the planet, so my fear is that I’ll end up stalling. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to read after hours of writing. Others might be able to do it, but not me. If I do read for entertainment, it’ll be a short book. 

Like most writers, I spend a lot of hours writing. I even avoid friends or going out unnecessarily, what more…read a book for entertainment? I don’t have a choice, the luxury of indulgence has been taken away from me. I need to prioritize what constitutes entertainment, otherwise I might end up asking myself, “Where did the time go?” 

I prefer to read after finishing a manuscript as I feel free. No guilt, no stress, just peace of mind. 

How do you cope with bad reviews?

The first time I saw a bad review of my book, it was on Goodreads. I started hyperventilating. I even wrote to Goodreads to complain about it. A customer service staff tried to pacify me, saying I’ve accomplished so much I shouldn’t fret about one zit. But I wanted everything to look nice and pretty. Do you like seeing a dent on a new car or a crack on your new cell phone that you purchased just days ago? It took a while for me to get used to the fact that not every reader is going to enjoy my book. 

On the bright side, the ratio is more than often positive. I get more good reviews than bad ones, and that keeps me afloat. 

But the one rule I do have is never get personal with the reviewer. There have been cases when the reviewer and reader didn’t read the book (they even admit it), so instead of telling them off, I’ll block them from trolling me further. 
On one occasion I had a blogger who cursed the entire book. She had nothing nice to say about it. The person was rude. I ignored the reviewer, but I took no further action and classified the incident as a weird experience, considering I had received plenty of positive reviews previously. 

Focus is the keyword. Keep going. There is no time to get yourself entrenched in some petty squabble.   

However, when a reviewer makes a factual mistake, I’ll email them to point it out. This kind of situation is managed amicably.

Recently, I read a story about a writer stalking a reviewer at his home. She wanted to know why he hated her book. I thought that was a bizarre case. It’ll make an interesting thriller novel, but on the serious side I’ll never stalk a reviewer just because he or she has a different opinion. 

I have written three novels and several short stories. I have such a thick skin now that my attitude towards bad reviews is come what may. 

In any case, bad reviews do not imply the end of your writing world. Customers have purchased my books despite seeing bad reviews peppered with good ones. There are many people out there who prefer to judge things for themselves, so have faith that things will work out. 

A bad review can also be a good thing. If the book receives a hundred percent positive rating, people are going to wonder if this is a marketing scam.  

Here’s a case study: I had an incident once with a blogger who didn’t quite like a book of mine, but I maintained a good relationship with the blogger instead of cursing her to hell. I put my feet into her shoes and tried to understand her perspective. I realized she had a certain preference, so I accepted her opinion as a fair comment. 

My gut feeling told me my next book would appeal to her. When the new book got published, I sent her a copy and invited her to review it. She agreed but her attitude changed towards this new book, and she gave me a cool five stars! 

Moral of the story? Be cool. 






Wayne Neely - Author of 13 books based on hurricanes of the region. 

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process? 

No, I don't because I think it distracts me from my writing, but if I am working on a new book manuscript I would read a book or two related to my research work, which would be on the subject of 'hurricanes' which is what my 13 books are based on. 

Does writing energize or exhaust you? 

It's a combination of both. Depending on what subject matter I am working on. If it is a difficult matter, then it drains me mentally. But if it is an easy subject matter to write on then it energizes me, and my work flows a little more efficiently. 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? 

Yes, I do, but I do find that the more recent book or books tend to be my greatest books. I feel they can stand alone and that is mostly because my earlier books tend to be a bit weaker. If I made a mistake in my earlier books, it helps me to learn from them and make the necessary corrections or adjustment in my latest book or books. 

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project? 

Historical research and my research period takes anywhere between 6 to 8 months. Research is the most difficult part of my artistic process.

If you’ve ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer’s block? 

Yes, I do, and typically I will put the work away and go see a movie, or simply go and watch a TV show based on nature.

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/wayne.neely.5
www.amazon.com/wayneneely




Sandra Perez GluschankoffHistorical fiction, time-slip novelist

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Reading is something I do always, on a daily basis, right when I hit my bed at night. It helps me unwind. It takes me away from all pressing matters and transports me to storyland, a place I usually inhabit with my own characters and my own stories. The difference is that reading places me in the back seat instead of the wheel, so I get to enjoy a ride into somebody else’s story.  Reading other people’s work doesn’t interfere with mine. On the contrary, it refreshes my thoughts, it helps putting my work into perspective.

Amazon page: amazon.com/author/sandragluschankoff
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/palabrasandstories




Leslie Hachtel – Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I read about three books a week. I love to read! And no, it doesn't detract from my process. On the contrary, reading good books energizes me and makes me want to achieve more and better.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Sadly, many aspiring writers think that as soon as they finish their book, they will immediately hit the bestseller list and get rich. It happens. but very, very rarely. The truth is, this is a marathon, not a sprint. If you tell your stories well, you will reach other people with your message. And isn't that the most important part?

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project?

I spend a great deal of time on research. To me, there is nothing worse that writing about something and getting the facts wrong. When I wrote Hannah's War, I spent months going over some of the many aspects of the Civil War and made sure of my facts. It was the same for A Dance in Time. That book included the sinking of The Mary Rose and I made sure of my accuracy to the best of my ability. I believe if you're going to "quote" history, you need to get it right, no matter how long it takes.

Websitehttps://www.lesliehachtel.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lesliehachtelwriter/





Marianne PetitRomance author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I try to stay away from books in my genre while I am writing because it distracts me. I find I start dissecting their book, comparing it to mine and then I start second-guessing my own writing. Plus I don’t want to be influenced by their writing style. 

https://www.amazon.com/Marianne-Petit/e/B002BLOT7G/





Aaron Dennissci-fi/fantasy/horror author

Do you read books for entertainment while you're working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Both? I do sometimes read other books while writing my own stories, but I have also encountered instances during which I needed to stop reading the book I was enjoying because it was affecting my writing.


One time, I was reading Phule's Paradise, a 70's sci-fi, while I was writing my own sci-fi short story. I wanted to see if I could figure out the element that made sci-fi feel like sci-fi. Was it describing alien life forms? Was it introducing bizarre technology, which may or may not actually function? Or was it plainly the words chosen for the narrative?


I mean, if you read fantasy, you come across words or phrases like, ‘Let us make haste’ or ‘Man the ramparts’ – nary a lull. The words in the narrative make the fantasy story feel like fantasy, and not necessarily the magic and dragons throughout.

Another time, I was reading an autobiography while writing a novel, and the autobiography was so engrossing that it led me to research the writer and the circumstances of his life, so I was more drawn to the book I was reading than my own work, and I found myself thinking through my story less and less. That time, I just finished the autobiography, did all my research, and moved on. I think I took something like a two week break from my story to do all that, but then I got back into it, reading through each chapter to recapture the feel of the story.

In the end, it really depends on the person, project, and what they're reading. I mean, if reading one thing while working on another works for you, keep at it. If, on the other hand, you find yourself consistently more interested in reading than writing, I suggest you finish whatever you're reading, and then finish your writing before starting a new read.

I would also extend this to other media. Are you binge watching a show while writing? Are you binge playing a new video game while writing?

I'm not a big show watcher, but I play a lot of video games; I review them, so it's kind of important I keep doing this. However, I try to choose a mindless game with less story when I'm writing a new project.


For instance, the story line for the Fire Emblem games is quite engrossing, and you have to play through the games a few times to learn everything about the world and its characters, so I probably wouldn't play Fire Emblem while in the middle of a new project, but rather after the project is drafted, and I'm waiting for beta readers, or something. I will play something like Wind Waker, though, because the story is not very complex, and a lot of the game is just running around, slashing baddies, and collecting items, so the mindlessness combined with the visual and auditory stimuli works to my benefit.

Not all us writers are old farts... :)


What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

I want to change the way people think. We've been taught how to walk, eat, write, and everything else, but we've also been taught how to think by our parents, peers, teachers, instructors, television, and books. We think incorrectly, but we've never so much as conceived this as a possibility, which I feel is proof positive that we've learned to think incorrectly.

It's not possible for us to be thinking correctly without wondering if the way we think is correct. Can we truly believe we're always right? Aren't we often proven wrong?

Let me put it like this: Logic is only logical to you because of the way you reason, which is based on your life experience, predilections, and priorities, but no one else has lived your life. Not everyone shares your likes and goals, so the way you think, and the choices you make, and your reasoning is only logical to you; this is why there are so many disagreements. This is also why we have to speak to each other with analogies.

If I say to you, "It's cold outside!", you know what cold is to you, but you step outside to find it's only slightly chilly. Now, had I said, “It's 50 degrees outside!”, you'd know how you're going to feel.

I also can't describe to you the color red, the sound a guitar makes, or the feel of soft skin. I have to provide analogies; we have to compare and contrast experiences in order to find a common ground, and then, we get mad at each other when we can't find that common ground. It's senseless because we've been taught to think incorrectly.

Now, what does this have to do with sci-fi, fantasy, and horror? Read my books and stories. The genre is just my setting, but you'll never find characters more real in anyone else's work because my characters are teaching lessons via their experiences in my stories. It's really neat once you see it. Of course, I also have a few non-fiction titles out there for everyone to enjoy....

Thanks for reading my answers!








Sheryl Dee romance author


Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I do read books for entertainment while working on a writing project, most recently in the editing stage.

Did you study writing in school, or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or, have you learned everything on your own?

At UNC-CH, I minored in creative writing and did a senior thesis in it that became my first literary novel, which won an author fellowship.

I also studied with Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley.








Nina SodenUrban Fantasy Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

YES! I think it is important to always be reading. I am always in the middle of at least one or two books at any given time. Sometimes I read just for pleasure, sometimes I'm reading books I can learn from, but I'm always reading no matter what stage of the writing process I'm in. 

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

There are so many, but I think one of the worst is editing as you go. If you get in the cycle of editing every time you sit down to write, it is hard to finish anything. I'm always telling the teens I work with that they need to just put everything on paper first, then go back and read/edit/re-write. 

What do you want to accomplish with your writing? 

Honestly, just to entertain people. I enjoy the creative process of writing and if I can entertain just one person, then I'm happy. 






Jes DrewAction Writer

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?  

I read while I write because that is the number one best way for me hone my craft- by seeing what I like and don't like in others' work, and it also teaches the finer points of genre so I know what my readers are looking for.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

One common trap is trying to create your magnum opus in the first draft – that's never going to happen, even if you write for fifty years. You need to focus on writing that first draft – and edit it later.

Another common trap would be trying to do what everyone else is doing. Pave your own trail. There will be enough writers telling others' stories; but there will be only you telling yours.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I personally tie all my works together in a fictional multiverse, but I've always had great respect in books that can stand on their own. It depends on your genre, your audience, and the story you have to tell which path you choose.

Links:






Sierra N. TerryFantasy Writer and Artist

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I don't read, but it's not because I think it detracts me from anything! You see, the more books I wrote the less time I ended up having. I double as an artist and I incorporate my art into all my books and art in general is a timely process. I also happen to have two jobs right now so my time is extra limited. Normally it's work, come home and get novel/art stuff done then back to work. Basically I don't get any free time to look at other things even when I want to. But! That might change when I get my novel series finished! There's only one way to find out!

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Okay, so this is a fun question! It turned out as both! I call The Four Kingdoms a "series" yet I made it so they all could be read individually but still all connect to the very first story 'The Longest Knight'. Did it start out that way when I started the first book? Of course not! I had no plans for other books but like with a lot of things I make, this project spun completely out of control. And now there are 5 books in The Four Kingdoms Series!

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Can I say both? I'm a little strange I guess! When I'm writing something good I get really into it and I'm typing a mile a minute. But at the same time there have been plenty of times when writing did a good job at putting me to sleep! The only exception: erotica. That is a whole different story.



 

 

Judi Getch Brodman – Mystery/Romance author and blogger

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

The answer is yes and no. Sometimes when I’m writing, I feel as though I’ve gone stale… my words are flat, mundane. My magical edge disappears. When that happens, I pick up one of my favorite writers and read a chapter or two. Reading someone else’s words energizes me and when I return to my work, the magic continues. Normally I’ll read when my latest manuscript is in editing with the publisher or just before I start a new manuscript.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Absolutely energizes me. It takes me to places that I love with people I adore. It’s my world and my world alone until I share it with my readers.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I do both. I have written stand-alone books like The Looking Glass Labyrinth. Although I have readers ask me to bring the second woman character back to 1804 as well… and see what happens. She’s Not You was written as a stand-alone, but the characters, Jack and Jamie, became so loved and they work so well as a team that they caused the “Oyster Point Mystery” series to be born. I’m working on the second, Treat Me Nice. I’m about to submit another stand-alone to the publisher… Dark Secrets, a Paris based mystery. I guess the answer is that I don’t really know what connections might be generated that are strong enough to generate a follow-on book… that’s true for me.

How do you cope with bad reviews?

I scan them. If I find some nuggets in them, I’ll use them, if not, I forget about them. Not all books appeal to all people. I embrace the ones that love my writing and that’s what keeps me writing.  

Did you study writing in school, or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or, have you learned everything on your own?

My degrees are in Math and Physics with a Masters in Computer Engineering. I published technical papers in Journals and received awards for my writing. But creative writing is VERY different. I knew when I began writing creatively that I needed guidance, so I joined a writers group. I won’t kid you; it’s frightening when you put your first written piece out there to strangers. But if you’re in a good supportive writers group and you’re open to constructive criticism, you’ll definitely grow as a writer. I also took Creative Writing at FAU. And even then, I felt I had more to learn. I enrolled in an online course from an author I love, and she changed my writing dramatically. I write with more feeling and my characters have much more depth and backstory… 






Nicolina Martin – Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I do read, and I don't feel it detracts me from my current work, rather it's my work that ruins my reading because I'm so invested in my story. It's alive in me 24/7 and it's hard to get into something else while my brain is occupied. Sadly. 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It varies. Sometimes thousands of words flow out of me, and I'm getting super excited. 
Sometimes, often after having been very productive, I slam into a wall, and it goes OH so slow. 
Then I complain to everyone who have the energy, or politeness, to listen, and have to push until I'm past the threshold. That is draining. 

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

Someone told me recently that reading one of my books had made her forget her chronic pain for a few hours because she had been so immersed. THAT is what I want to give people: a little escape into an imaginary world where you get to laugh and cry, and hold on to your seat, and get all hot and bothered. I want people to join me in my love for my characters and my story and have a good time. 

https://www.amazon.com/Nicolina-Martin/e/B07GSG5MFF
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nicolina-martin





Alice J MillerWriter of Sweet Romances

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I used to not read whilst writing, but as I’ve nearly always got a book in my head waiting to come out, now I do read, but try very hard to never incorporate anything I’ve read in my current story.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It does both. When it’s hard, and I’m squeezing out words at a rate slower than a snail in a hurry, then it’s exhausting and I walk away feeling like a complete failure.
When the words are flying and my fingers can’t keep up with my mind, I’m energized whilst writing, but when I stop then I feel tired, but happy tired, if you get my meaning.

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? What does it mean to you?

I don’t know where this came from, but I found this ages ago. Although it’s not uplifting in any way, it always makes me grin because it’s so true, and it’s totally self-inflicted.
   
Give someone a book, they’ll read for a day.
Teach someone to write a book….and they’ll spend a lifetime mired in paralyzing self-doubt.

I think that sums up my writing life perfectly.  





Margaret EgrotPlaywright & YA and Literary Fiction Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?
                            
I always have a book on my bedside table which is nothing to do with my WIP. It's usually a book I've picked up at the second hand book stall I run once a month for a local community theater. I've just been reading Milkman by Anna Burns, I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill, and Small Island by Andrea Levy. Different eras and settings, so all good escapist stories in very different ways. Inspiring, rather than distracting.

Does writing energize or exhaust me?

Finding reasons for not writing is quite exhausting, as is worrying about not writing (most of the day). Taking a grip, and writing 500 - 1,000 words in a sitting is almost spiritually energizing. (As I'm told a successful work-out in the gym can be - I don't know, I've never tried).

How do I cope with bad reviews?

I've only had one bad (one star) review. It was in relation to a story I had in an anthology (Festive Treats). My story was singled out as being dull and predictable. The next review was for five stars and again my story was singled out - for being witty with an unexpected ending. The juxtaposition of the reviews made me smile - it just showed that you cannot please everybody.





Bradley Campbell – Suspense/Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

That’s a tough one. Honestly I find it difficult to read for pleasure period. It’s like a chef going to a restaurant for dinner. There’s always a part of the mind that’s subconscious, analyzing instead of digesting.

Does writing energize or exhaust me?

I believe good writing drains me. But it’s a good feeling, like the exhaustion you feel after really good intercourse.





Linda CovellaChildren’s Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

My mother was a school librarian, and she instilled in me a love of books and reading. And I always must have a book to read. Reading for entertainment doesn’t distract me one bit. For me, reading while working on a story are separate, unrelated activities.

However, in a general sense, reading other authors’ works will always help me improve my own writing. I think it’s essential for writers to also be readers. We learn technique from others, what to do and what not to do. We can be inspired by other books, as well.

But when I’m working on my own project, I continue to read without being distracted from my current work-in-progress (WIP).

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part of writing for me is getting the first draft written. The problem is I want to edit as I go, finding just the right word or phrase, et cetera. This slows me down terribly. Writers are taught to “just write,” to not worry about editing while writing the first draft. I guess this is against my nature, shutting down my “inner editor.” Though by now I’ve accepted the way I write, I’m still trying to compromise and at least tell my inner editor to back off occasionally!

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Aspiring writers need to, first of all, understand that writing is a craft, something that they need to learn. And we never stop learning, never stop working at improving. Reading books is a great learning tool; read lots in your genre, but other genres as well. Writing classes are a huge help, especially ones that provide feedback from the instructor and classmates.

Forming or joining a critique group is another way to get feedback on your work. When I first started writing seriously (pursuing publication), I was reluctant and shy to join a critique group and have others read my work. When another writer and I formed a group and brought in four more writers, it turned out to be one of the best things I could have done for my writing. We learned from and helped each other not only with our writing, but with the ins and outs of pursuing publication. Critique partners are especially important if you plan to self-publish. You want to make sure you’re putting out a quality product!

Finally, aspiring writers need to live by the old cliché “Never Give Up!” It’s difficult not to get discouraged by rejections and negative criticism. But if the criticism is constructive, take it to heart. You may or may not decide to follow any advice, but you should step back from the hurt you might feel and look at the criticism objectively. And keep at it, keep improving, keep submitting. If you’re passionate about the process, if you keep at it, keep improving, keep submitting, your dream of publication will come true!





Cleo Scornavacca - Award-winning Author of Adult Romance

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I definitely read as much as possible, whether I’m writing or not. I don’t feel it takes time away or detracts from my writing. In fact, it’s a motivator. I saw a speech by Sylvia Day, one of my favorite authors, who said you need to read and you need to read your genre, it helps to give you better understanding, and to learn and grow.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I think it depends, if you force it and give yourself a goal to write x-amount of words a day but force it when the words are not there; I think it's mentally exhausting. I learned to stop and give myself a break when warranted.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I really had to think about the question. In my first series, Miss Taken Identity, the three books had no choice but connect, as the stories contained cliffhangers, until they resolve. My new series, The Wild Roses, does connect the first series to it, as the characters in each of the four books that will be in this series, were secondary characters in Miss Taken Identity.  Yet, my newest WIP, Never Be The Same doesn’t connect with the other series intimately, but the location… the Jersey Shore, is the same. I want my work to be branded. I’m a Jersey Girl, born and raised and still residing here, so I like having that as a brand and a connection, but I don’t want to limit myself either. 

Did you study writing in school, or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or, have you learned everything on your own?

I didn’t go to college. I wrote as an escape, read books as an escape, for that matter. Now, that I’m writing as an Indie Author, I do take online workshops, as well as classes through RWA and NJRW. I believe you take something away each time. Sometimes it’s something small and other times, it’s an AH HA moment. I think it’s very important. What may seem like too much time away from writing, actually helps my writing go more smoothly.

Links:




Jane BurrelliErotic Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I was an avid reader long before I attempted to put pen to paper and it helped to develop my style of writing. However, depending on what I am writing I do worry that I will subconsciously process the plot and try to be mindful not to weave it into my own work, in which case I stop reading that particular book. On the other hand, when I get frustrated with a plot not feeling right or the character's personality is not matched by the action I will go back to some of my favorite books (again depending on genre) and try to become inspired. Sometimes I succeed in fixing the scene, other times I just need to accept I have to scrap the scene.

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? What does it mean to you?

“If, when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing . . . then you are a writer.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

Once I started writing and knew I could finish a project, it was like unlocking a door in my mind that can never be shut. I am always creating; new characters, new plot ideas, on my commute, walking around town, even at work. Therefore this quote is the closest I've found that best describes how I feel about writing, that is a part of me and I suspect always will be.

Did you study writing in school, or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or, have you learned everything on your own?

I am usually a math and science girl, but I as mentioned I have read A LOT of stories, to the point I can't remember them all. As a result, I am self-taught, but it was more a subconscious process, hard to describe and often undisciplined. On the downside, it also means I am less attuned with the technical aspects of writing and marketing. 

Amazon Author Page -  viewauthor.at/JaneBurrelli

 

 

 


Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross Horror/Paranormal Authors and Podcast Hosts

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process? 

T & A: What…stop reading while we’re writing? Never! Neither of us would ever get to read another book if we did that!

That said, there are certain things one or the other of us may avoid reading during certain books. Tamara, for instance, has to be very careful about reading books by Nelson DeMille that feature a certain (favorite) character because she subconsciously picks up that character’s dialogue/thought style, causing her own characters to begin adding, “Or something like that,” to their own speeches.

One of our friends, a well-known author of vampire novels, will not read other writers’ vampiric works while writing on one of her own for fear of being influenced. Neither of us worries about that; we’re both likely to read in the genre we’re writing in in order to make sure we don’t accidentally do something that’s already been done.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

T & A: While we write both series and standalone novels, we have a definite concordance, a universe of our own creation. We enjoy referencing events, places, and characters from our other novels - series or standalone, collaborations or solos - because we like to watch the Thorne & Cross Universe expand. Also, readers enjoy finding the ‘Easter eggs’ we leave for them almost as much as we enjoy hiding them.

Thorne's Website: https://www.tamarathorne.com/




Skye McNeilRomance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process? 

While working on a current writing project, I believe it is beneficial to take time out of my schedule to read for pleasure. I've read several books at the same time I've worked on my own story, and sometimes, ideas come to me while reading that wouldn't otherwise happen. In my experience, the more I read, the more I write. 

If you’ve ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer’s block? 

Writer's block happens to everyone. At least, I'm fairly certain it does. Whenever that dreaded block comes, I go to my massive romance movie collection and pop in something that will break up my thoughts. I've found the Hallmark Channel movies also help when it comes to writer's block. Basically, anything to get my mind off my current writing and on something else still related to romance helps cure my writer's block. 







Mary L. Schmidt (pen names S. Jackson, A. Raymond, M. Schmidt and Gene D. Donley) - Multi-genre author of personal memoirs, cookbook, art book, and illustrated children’s books 

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Yes, I do read every day for entertainment and I’m currently reading two different books in two different genres. Reading doesn’t detract from my writing abilities at all. I don’t always write a lot each day and some days I write nothing at all, but I do feel it is important to read every day, if possible. Having written two memoirs, it is nice to have a break and enjoy another person’s book. Honestly, reading helps with building the craft of writing. Some writers think they must write every day, but I am not in that group. I write children’s illustrated books so that means I jot down ideas, run them through my head, toss the words around with my husband, and then I develop essential parts for the story. Each picture book requires one paragraph for each page of the 24-page illustrated book. Lots of tweaking is done. Once I have each paragraph finely tuned, I start my illustrations. Usually I design my cover first and, of course, the book synopsis. I also read and visit sites so that I have researched material dealing with each book I write. All in all, reading inspires me to write and build my craft better in a way that is truly inspiring. I feel that they go hand in hand. 

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Oh - those pesky traps, they do exist. New writers should not have a family member or friend who excelled in English as their editor. It just won’t work. Do the research and find a good editor in your price range that works for you. The first book a newbie publishes can make or break the growth of the writer and subsequent books. Vanity publishers who promise a lot but cost the writer thousands of dollars - this is a huge issue and it isn’t going away. Beware of scam artists as they are everywhere all over the world. They will call you and send emails. Don’t fall for this kind of trap. Do your research. 

My twitter handle is @MaryLSchmidt
and my blog is https://whenangelsfly.net







Holly BargoRomance and Fantasy Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Most authors earn their living from professions other than writing. Somewhere I read that fewer than 10 percent of authors earn more than $1,000 annually in royalties—certainly not enough to subsidize any sort of lifestyle involving food, clothing, shelter, transportation, or healthcare. However, few I’ve encountered also work as a freelance writer and editor or ghostwrite for clients.
Because I might have multiple content production projects for clients at any given time, I’ve learned to compartmentalize so that the storyline of one ghostwriting project does not bleed into another. Because of this, the question of whether I read books for entertainment while I’m working on a writing projects can be answered with an emphatic “yes.”
That ability to compartmentalize hinders me when I try to make a mental note of a particularly effective phrase or expression I read elsewhere and want to use for my own work. I always forget.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Because writers—like lawyers and physicians—practice their profession, there’s always more to learn, always room for improvement. To that end, I lurk and participate in various online writers’ forums. Some forums become exercises in tedium, as new writers default to picking the brains of experienced writers rather than taking the initiative to conduct their own research. They pose the same basic questions over and over again.
The top four common traps for aspiring writers, in my opinion, are: 1) sloppy grammar, 2) passive voice, 3) failure to edit, 4) lack of realism. Let’s take these in turn.
Correct grammar does not automatically result in good writing. Good writing only breaks grammatical conventions when doing so makes sense and enhances the effect or impact of the written words. Grammar falls under the concept that writing is craft: anyone who would style himself a professional writer ought to master the craft first. If a writer breaks grammatical convention with impunity, he shows a disregard for the language and a sloppiness that testifies to the writer’s laziness.
Passive voice does not violate any grammatical conventions; however, it drones. It bores. It tells. As I explained to one client, “showing” does not mean including a lot of expository description, which is usually presented as a series of declarative statements. Use active voice. It’s stronger. Think of it this way: active voice pulls the reader through the story; passive voice pushes. Have you ever tried to push a rope?
Many new authors (and some not so new) fail to complete the most basic step of editing. Every draft needs an editor. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Competent, professional editing costs money, oftentimes a lot of money. Analytic skill and experience don’t come cheaply. Self-editing is always advised, but it’s not sufficient. An objective third party who’s not afraid to be candid serves the author’s and the book’s best interests.
Finally, even the most out-of-this-world fantasy or science fiction story requires realistic elements that ground the reader. That means doing one’s research. Whether the problem lies in anachronisms or other details, readers will identify them and leave scathing reviews pointing out those errors. In short, if a reader can trust the author with the small, easily verified details, then he’ll follow the author into the most absurd flights of fancy. Sweat the details: they matter.
Every word counts.




Lynn Chantale Multicultural Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Reading is fundamental. If I don’t read, it’s like not breathing. I often will read while I’m writing. I write contemporary romance, but love to read historical romances, suspense/thrillers, or other romantic suspense stories. Reading is as much a part of me as writing. My day doesn’t flow right unless I’m able to read— at least for a few minutes a day.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It really depends on the scene at hand. If it is an emotional scene, capturing the emotions will exhaust me. However, if I’m writing a fight scene or something with a lot of tension I stay pretty revved.

Author Links:





Autumn Bardothistorical fiction & historical erotica author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project or do you believe it will detract from the process?

My career gets in the way of full time author-ing (LOL), so when I get home every precious minute is spent writing. Until I hit The Wall. At around 9pm my creative brain—up since 5am—just kind of melts into blah. Forget writing a first draft or even revising sentences! When that happens, I grab a paperback. My eyes, by then, are tired from looking at a computer screen. I’ll read anything but a novel related to my current project. In fact, I try to read something outside my genre. I like action/adventure and thrillers but don’t write them. There’s a lot to learn from reading other genres. For example, I re-read some of my favorite Agatha Christie who-dunnits and marveled at how in just a few words, she conveyed so much about a character. Lesson learned, Dame Agatha!

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project?

I love researching. The more I do, the more the plot and characters and conflicts unfold. Internet research is a start and good for some things, but I prefer going to the primary source. I’ll hunt down the expert and buy their book, often out-of-print, and a bit on the pricy side. That book gets read several times, written in, highlighted, and dog-eared. (Try not to cringe, the books are well-loved.) I make charts and lists as I read. 

Several books were purchased for The Impaler’s Wife, a 1000-pg reference to clothing through the ages, an out-of-print primary source, and several on medieval life. (What can I say, I love books!) One book bought for Dragon Lady (summer 2019) had more information in the footnotes than all the stuff on the internet! There was one exception. After two months of typing in various key words, I finally found a photocopied journal of the English sailor held captive by Zheng Yi Sao, the female pirate in Dragon Lady. I was ecstatic. For The Emperor’s Assassin (fall 2019) I bought several reference books on toxic plants, Rome, and Roman Emperors. For Confessions of a Sheba Queen (Jan 2020, Cleis Press) I purchased books about ancient Saba.

For me, diligent research is the name of the research game.

I research each historical fiction for about a month and keep researching as the need arises. One of my pet peeves about reading historical fiction is when the author provides no detail. What kind of tree did the character sit under? What food did they eat? I want to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste the story. For the erotic short stories, Legends of Lust, I spend two days researching each legend and cross-referenced it before writing a single word. And then I still had to research to add detail concerning indigenous species, geography, clothing, et cetera.

Did you study writing in school or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or have you learned on your own?

I have a degree in English literature and teach literary analysis and writing in a very rigorous worldwide program. Teaching literary analysis most definitely sharpened my skills! The power and purpose of themes, motifs, symbols, syntax, punctuation, foreshadowing, etc —you know all that author stuff (aka, authorial techniques). 

What it did not teach me was how to write cleanly. How to use less words to say more. How to pace. How to make each sentence sing. That I learned on my own. Knowing something and doing it successfully are miles apart. I tell new writers that they really need to dissect their favorite books word by word, sentence by sentence. I over-wrote in the beginning. Used too many superfluous words. Now I know what to trim. And, of course, having a professional editor's feedback is a big boost. I get rid of all my -ings now.  

Confession! After two semesters of an MFA program, I dropped out. I had hoped for some intensive advice, but received only the very vaguest of  suggestions. My agent at the time gave me better advice. Conflict emotion conflict emotion. Emotion emotion emotion!



 

 

Beverley Batemanromantic suspense author and blogger

 

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Unless I’m judging a contest I don’t read books in my writing genre for entertainment. I feel it could affect the way I’m writing, interfere with my plotting, the characters or the process. I can read other genres or non-fiction while working on my WIP. 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

It’s a combination of both. I want each book to stand on its own and tie up most of the loose ends. But, I want the same main characters, the general overall plot and a strand of plot to connect the books together, and hopefully encourage a reader to want to read all the books in that series.


 

 

Laura Tolomei Erotic Romance with an Edge

 

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

No, they detract from my writing process. When I'm writing, I'm so taken with what I'm creating that I can't stay focused on any other story. I've gotta be immersed in my world, which guarantees the erotic earthquake I'm famous for, the erotic romance with an edge you find in my Virtus Saga, ReScue and Soulmate Series, not to mention the horror and historical novels.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It definitely energizes me! No doubt about it! When I'm writing, I get on such a roll that I could keep at it for an entire night without even getting tired. And without needing any coffee either. :-)

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? What does it mean to you?

I have a favorite quote about life that applies also to writing:

"However you lived your life, you are the key to change your future." (Laura Tolomei)

I wrote this in Re-Scue, Book 1 of the ReScue Series, and applied to writing it means that you can start doing it any time if you ever wanted to do it. It means that you're never too old to start anything, writing included. And this is a reminder to myself since I've loved writing from age 10, but didn't dare go professional until I was 40.

 

 


Nancy Christieaward-winning multi-genre author (fiction and non-fiction) and workshop presenter

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I do read for entertainment but not in the same subject area or genre that I’m currently working on. For example, when I am writing short stories, I stay away from other short fiction—in part because I don’t want to be intimidated by the work of others! Right now I’m finishing my second book on writing (Rut-Busting Book for Authors), with plans to start revisions on a novel (women’s fiction) once this one has been turned in. So I can read similar novels now, but once I start revising my own, I’ll put them away. This way I can focus on the work at hand without comparing my writing to those in the same category.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

In the ideal author world, all my books would be in the same category and genre. That way, my fan base would grow exponentially since one book would generate a following for the next. But, as I said, that would be in the ideal author world. 

Unfortunately, I live in the real world, which means I have a mixed bag in terms of my book: my first book (The Gifts of Change) was inspirational/motivational, followed by Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories (literary short fiction) and then Rut-Busting Book for Writers (non-fiction), with two more coming down the pike: Rut-Busting Book for Authors (non-fiction) and Peripheral Visions and Other Stories (literary short fiction).

So I’m a bit of a split personality when it comes to my author persona, which makes building a following and author identity much harder. That being said, my plan once the next writing book is done is to go back to fiction—both short stories and hopefully some novels—since that would be the area in which I would want to expand my body of work. 





Kat SchuesslerRomantic Suspense Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I always read books. I just make sure to read erotica when I'm writing so I can keep my head “in the game”.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project?

I try to only research things that will directly affect the plot, but I sometimes get carried away and research little things, such as the specific layout or hiring procedures of a business.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It really depends on the scene. If it's a tear-jerking scene, it exhausts me because it can emotionally wear me out, but if it's an erotic or fight scene, I feel exhilarated and energized.






Viviana MacKadewriter of romance suspense and fantasy, and blogger

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I do read. I can’t not. 

Not just for the sheer pleasure reading gives me (you don’t become a novelist for money, so you have to love a well-narrated story in the first place), but for making me a better writer. 

I can’t help but analyze the story I’m reading. When I find something I like (a smooth transition, a description, the explanation of a character’s behavior that’s weaved naturally into the story) I take a note like I would for a class. 

Same thing when I find something I don’t like. I remember the “mistake” the author made, and I try not to do the same in my book.

So yes, I read.

Not everything, though. 

I don’t touch any of my favorite authors.

I look up to their writing, their style, so much, I’m afraid their voice could trickle into mine. You know, like when you’re a kid and try to simulate your superhero catchphrases and voice, or her/his mannerisms. Yeah, not cool. 

Also, I like to keep their stories as a price form when I’m done with a story. My reward for being a good girl and finishing my story is reading one (or two) of theirs. 

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

This is a question dear to my heart.

The answer is, and it’s always been: nothing.

Nothing at all.

I’m a strong believer that the world right now needs: 

- sweet boys that will turn into smart, strong, and sweet men (my boy is on the sweet side, and I’m trying to raise him to be a man with an open heart, a quick brain, and unafraid of being whoever he is. I’m doing my part here.).

- girls strong enough to grow up into women, and not men with breasts (a woman is not strong when she acts like a man, and I’m talking about the masculine warrior stereotype. She certainly has the right to decide what she wants to do, to be, and be rewarded as much as a man would for her trouble. But doing what a man does doesn’t equal being strong, or better. You know what? Why don’t we leave alone the entire issue of what women do better, or what men do better? For years it’s been a competition. We should start to see it for what it can be: a collaboration, where men and women bring something different and equally useful on the table based on who they are, not their genre).

- a global chill

- more laughter

With my books, the last two points are the whole point. I don’t want to teach. I surely don’t want to preach. I don’t want to be smart or profound. I just want to write the story banging in my head, pleading to be released. My hope is that people will read it and forget troubles and ugliness for a while. That’s it. If my stories can do that, then I’ve accomplished what I want from my writing.

The best way to know me is through my website (and the books I host):  http://www.viviana-mackade.blog/

The best way to see what I’m up to is through my Instagram account.



Sherry Soule – author of thrilling paranormal romance and urban fantasy reads

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Yes, I read daily, seven days a week. 

I feel as if I can’t be a good storyteller without being an avid reader, too. 

And no, it doesn’t detract me, but other books do often inspire me. When I’m writing a new genre, I read everything I can get my hands on to study the tropes, the character ARCs, et cetera, so that my own book will meet reader expectations.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project?

Each story or series is different, but I mainly do online research and buy books on any subject that I need to study.

My current work-in-progress, Shadow Magic, is about a necromancer who attends a magical college to search for her missing sister. I realized that just diving into my story and trying to write it without much world-building was causing some major plot holes and character development issues. I needed a better understanding of my world and its history, as well as my character’s supernatural abilities—mainly my heroine’s necromancy powers.

So I did a lot of research and wrote out an exhaustive lexicon regarding necromancy. It took me several days and some fictional creativity to compose a list of the powers and magic used by a necromancer. (I might end up including it as a glossary in the actual book.) 

Then I created a world-building and character profile document, which helped me immensely to plot the story. The fun part about developing a fictional, magical world is that you have the freedom to create a vivid and detailed history for your characters. Plus, with a supernatural-type story, it is so important to fully comprehend each character’s powers and limitations, and any consequences from using those abilities.

But creating a magical college setting was tougher than I expected. Not to mention, inventing a believable paranormal population. But I think it’s much easier to write in a world that the author knows intimately.

Then there is the tough part on top of all that to include a mystery plot with clues, suspects, and a red herring. I’m still trying to work out the details for the mystery and how the amateur sleuth solves the crime. So I have been studying guidebooks that I bought on mystery writing that are helping me to further develop my story. So yeah, I do a lot research. 

Official Author Blog:  http://sherrysoule.blogspot.com



Sally Brandle Clean Romantic Suspense Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I’ve been a psycho reader since I first walked the steps into Butman-Fish Public Library as a kindergartener holding my mom’s hand. Now I juggle my top choices with fulfilling promises to comment on upcoming books of critique partners. If a fictional book I’ve chosen opens with too many characters or grammar issues, I won’t waste my precious reading time.  

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? 

My first series, Love Thrives in Emma Springs, contains recurring characters from a picturesque Montana community. I write the stories to stand alone, but my personal recommendation would be to start with The Hitman’s Mistake. The second series I’m working on, Double Vision—Good Science in Bad Hands, has a villain who tries different methods to destroy America in each book. Disturbing Departure opens that science fact-tion romantic suspense series, as yet unpublished.

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

I hope to encourage friendship and loyalty in my stories, and on the safety side, encourage people to trust their instincts. Reading Gavin de Becker’s non-fiction book, The Gift of Fear, opened my eyes on how our brain creates red flags.

http://www.sallybrandle.com/
https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Brandle/e/B07DNGP1N7




Bella JeanisseAuthor of Adult Rockstar Romance and More

Does writing energize or exhaust you? 

It depends on the time of day. It can get my mind going in the morning, yet by the end of the night, I’m beyond tired.

What are common traps for aspiring writers? 

Not using beta readers or doing enough research.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? 

Almost everything I write lately is inspired by another book of mine, so I am building multiple worlds where books and series connect with each other.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project? 

Most of my research is done on the internet. I also ask questions in my fan group about places I’ve never been or occupations I’ve not held. It can take minutes, hours or even days to complete research, but I tend to do it as I write, so it’s hard to pinpoint it.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process? 

Transitioning from scene to scene can drive me batty. Yet, for some books, the hardest part is ending at the right moment with things wrapped up.
 
If you’ve ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer’s block? 

I get it here and there. My typical fix is to work on something else, write another book, edit something I’ve completed or want to revamp, or just plan out chapters.

What inspired you to write? or What inspired your latest work? 

It began as therapy when I was a teenager and I enjoyed it so much, I couldn’t stop. My current WIP is book 3 in a series. A friend I met through my books was inspired it. Kathy and I were talking about book 2 and she told me something I hadn’t thought of and it just fit perfectly. That, of course, blew up into a book!

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

I want to give people a world to get lost in.

If you're a published author, what has changed in the book industry? For example, is it harder to get a break and get readers? Has the atmosphere in the writing world changed? 

Things have changed a lot in the past 7 years. The market has been flooded with books, which makes it harder to get readers’ attention. Major changes on multiple sites has also made visibility difficult. More readers expect free books, which also hurts our bottom line.

How do you cope with bad reviews? 

If it contains constructive criticism, I use it to improve my writing. If it is clearly malicious, I may report it. But most of the time, I just roll my eyes and move on.

Did you study writing in school, or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or, have you learned everything on your own? 

I learned most by trial and error on my own.





Isobelle CateRomance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Yes, I do! Sometimes when my mojo decides to take a vacay and leaves me hanging, I resort to reading books from authors I love. It doesn't detract from the process at all and, in fact, helps with it. I tend to read the book and analyze the author's way of writing at the same time. It helps me hone my craft and makes me see where I can improve. 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?  

I was just thinking about it this afternoon. Most, if not all, of my books can be read as a standalone in that there are only two main characters for each book, but I put a lead to the next book at the end. But lately as the plot becomes more complicated, the later books cannot be read as a standalone.

What do you want to accomplish with your writing? 

I want to be able to reach as wide an audience as I possibly can and to entertain readers around the globe. 




McKenna Deanparanormal romance

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Since I’m almost always working on a writing project, to not read during the process would mean never reading. I couldn’t imagine not reading any more than I could imagine not eating or not breathing! That may sound like hyperbole, but I’ve been reading or was read to as long as I can remember. My mom encouraged reading in our family, and we all looked forward to the bi-monthly trip to the library, where we’d check out as many as sixty books for a two week period.

Today, reading is what gets me through a tough day at work, allows me to put the frustrations and anxieties of being an adult aside for a few hours, and just take me out of myself and my concerns for a while. It’s the greatest gift we as writers can give readers, and that’s why I write.
But…I do have to be careful what I read while I’m working on a project. I don’t want to subconsciously absorb what I’m reading and have it slip into my own work. So I tend not to read in the same genre I’m working on. If I’m writing a historical set in the 1950s, I’ll read historicals set in the 1800s. I write mostly paranormal romance, so until I type the words “The End” and send my draft off to the editor, I’ll stick to cozy mysteries and military space opera. I’ll indulge my love for my own genre by binge-reading about panther shifters in that narrow window between projects. It seems to work for me so far!

If you’ve ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer’s block?

I think to cure writer’s block, you have to understand the root cause. Sometimes the answer is to power through. Or skip ahead to write the scene you can clearly see, and come back to the sticky scene later. Sometimes the answer is to take a break from writing and do something else creative for a change, like paint, or make crafts. But you don’t know which method to choose if you don’t understand why you’re blocked.

If you’re blocked because your creative well has run dry, powering through probably isn’t the answer. Doing something else for a while may help. If you’re between projects, having just come off a major effort, or are waiting to hear about a publishing contract, be kind to yourself. Farmers know if you don’t let a field rest between harvests, the soil will become depleted of nutrients and the next crop won’t thrive. If you’re stuck on a particular scene, you’re probably trying to make your characters do something that doesn’t make sense to the story. Skip around or muscle through.

If the words won’t come at all, give yourself a few days off and do something mindless but physical. I love taking the dogs for long rambling walks. Frequently I have a ‘eureka’ moment during these strolls, and come back knowing how to solve my problem.

How do you cope with bad reviews?

I tend not to read reviews as a whole. Sure, I check out my reviews when I release a new story, eagerly looking for signs the book was well-received and that people like it, but after those first couple of reviews, I rarely go back and check for more. Reviews are rarely written with the author in mind. It’s someone sharing their opinion of a story they loved, hated, or felt indifferent toward. While there can be great value in the nature of your reviews (if everyone loves or hates the same thing, you should pay attention to that) In general, the truly nasty review, while it may sting, usually has one of two goals. Either the poster wishes to destroy you so utterly that you give up writing altogether or they are playing to an audience who is there for the cutting remarks and nasty gifs. Either way, they have no power over me. I’m not going to stop writing no matter what. And I’m not the audience the nasty reviewer is seeking to appease. In some ways, the ugly reviews are easier to ignore. Their purpose is to harm. It’s the “meh’ reviews that bother me more. They mean I failed to connect with the reader on some level, and I need to figure out how to do things better the next time out.

Amazon page (international link): https://geni.us/McKennaDean



 

Devika FernandoSweet and Sensual Contemporary Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process? 

I definitely read in my free time, no matter where in the writing process I might be. Reading is my biggest hobby, and by focusing on someone else's words and getting lost in a story, I can stop dwelling on my writing. I even read the same genre, it doesn't distract me.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project? 

I often write 'international' or 'multicultural' romance, and that involves researching a setting. For example, my latest royal romance, The Indian Prince's Scandalous Bride, is set in a fictitious city in India's state Rajasthan. I do all my research online. Basics before writing so I have something to work with and center my idea on. Then I read articles, watch videos, search for images, sometimes incorporate travel accounts from real tourists who've seen the sights of a setting. It's such fun, though sometimes a detail needs to be verified with someone who actually lives in that country or city.






Debbie De LouiseMysteries and More

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Although I read less when I'm writing, I still read for entertainment. As a librarian, I write staff picks for our library and usually review a book a month. I'm also responsible for ordering the fiction and mystery books for our collection, so I need to be familiar with those books. I've been trying to read and review more debut and Indie authors. 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? 

Each book of my Cobble Cove mystery series can stand alone because I add backstory from the previous books, although many readers prefer to start from the beginning of the series to become familiar with the characters. I also write standalone novels and short stories. Most of them are mysteries, but I also enjoy dabbling in other genres from time to time. 

Website/blog/newsletter sign up: https://debbiedelouise.com







Leigh PodgorskiMulti-genre Author


Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?


This is such an excellent question because it calls into query the entire relationship between writers and reading. I have heard many writers say they do not read – especially not while they are in the midst of working on their own project. Their reasons vary, but the most common are: they fear they will be swayed by the writer’s style and even if subconsciously, begin to incorporate that style into their own project; they fear they will be intimidated by comparison; writing is hard work, and they fear they will too easily be swept up in the enjoyment of the book and it will then be too difficult to return to the grind of doing their own work.



Let’s look at these fears one by one. The fear of being so influenced by another writer’s style that you will be unable to retain your own. As a new writer just beginning your journey, how do you find your style? Your personal way of presenting your words, your story, your brand? Sure, there are numerous classes you can take, groups you can join, degrees you can earn. But what is the bottom line, the thing you must do? Write. You must go through the fire and write. 

And what is one fool-proof way you can discover greatness in writing? Read. Read the great writers. Read Twain, Bronte, Fitzgerald, Margaret Atwood, Steinbeck, or whoever is tracking as a best-selling author right now. How do they handle that tricky transition? How does Christie so perfectly plot murder? How does Poe manage to make our skin crawl so unforgettably? What is so funny about Mark Twain after all these decades? These are your master teachers and your tools. You might even give yourself an exercise to imitate some of these greats’ style. Then re-write the piece in your own style. It is only by writing and reading that you will find your style. Once you do, no one can take it from you.



Will you be intimated by these greats? Probably. That’s why they are great. But let’s turn this on its head. What’s the other side of that coin? Inspiration. Who has not been inspired by Shakespeare? His turn of a phrase. His economy of language. Christie was once considered the Queen of Mystery. Over time, her star has diminished. Many now scoff at her stuffy parlor mysteries so easy to peg. She has been surpassed, it has been said, by many others such as Patricia Highsmith, P.D.James, and Ngaio Marsh. I’ll bet all of them grew up reading Agatha Christie. I know I did. Reading is inspiring. And sometimes it works the other way. How many times have you picked up a book and thought, I can do better than that. That is your clarion call, and books are your guide.



Ah….now to the crux of the issue, perhaps. Writing is hard work. We can get lost in our world of books. That’s easy. The best definition of writing I ever heard was: Writing is applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. Working on a specific project is very hard. The initial phases are fun—maybe even more fun and care-free than reading. Usually, there is such a creative high, you feel like you are flying, you are walking amongst the clouds and can do anything. But then there comes the nitty-gritty: it might be the second part of the novel, where you have to nail down facts; it might be all that advanced PR and you hate marketing; you might have bumped into a flaw and realize you have stringent re-writes that must be done before you can continue. Reach for that brand- new fantasy album and fly-a-way! Yes, by all means, do. Or walk your cute pooch. Or call a friend. And when that’s done, go to your desk, or set your lap- top upon your lap and tell yourself: I’ve hit a snag. So, today, I only need to write for one hour. And honor that. Even if all you write is jibberish. Once you apply the seat of the pants, I bet you will write for far more than one hour. I always do. Then with well-earned glee, I sink into that wondrous book.



So, does reading distract from your/my project? Only in the most healing way. For me, reading is an inspiration, a time-out, a reward. Reading is the balance to my hard work. Writing is self-discipline. You must be able to divide up your work day into sections where you allow yourself to write, write, write. Write through self-doubt, and “I just don’t feel like it.” And while you’re writing, read. Yes, read to reward yourself, for entertainment, to escape. But also, read to inspire yourself, to learn, to grow. Writing and reading go hand in hand. And someday, or even today, some other struggling author may be taking a break right now—with your book in her hands.


What inspired your latest work?


My latest project is a novella Child of the Western Frontier that is included in the anthology Tales From Big Country. 


I find this quite an interesting tale. My life as a writer has not been an easy path. I think this is true for most Independent Authors. The flood gates opened for us with self-publishing, which has been a blessing. But along with that has come millions of books that we are in competition with, and the field and competition is overwhelming. 


I am a member of many writers’ groups online and off and hear my fellow authors state so many times how near to giving up they are. I, too, have been so very close to hanging up my spurs. 


One time was on January 1, 2017. I was done. Then I opened my email. Inside was a letter from Solstice Publishing. They had accepted my Western Contemporary Romance, Western Song for publication.


Western Song went on to receive the Readers’ Favorite Bronze Award for Western Literature in 2018. A few months ago, a well- known Western writer named Kwen D. Griffeth contacted me out of the big blue sky and presented the Tales anthology project. He found me through the Readers’ Favorite award, which he had won himself a few years back.


I was walking on clouds! Okay, then reality set in. I needed 3,000 words in one week, and at least 30,000 words by May 15th, less than three months.


Yikes!!!


Everything else became second place. It was all about the book.


I was starting from zero. Nada. Nothing. 


So, I went into a brown study and thought.


I lost my mother due to cancer when I was seventeen years old. That death blew a hole in our tightly knit family. My father couldn’t handle her death, and basically, I was left alone with my sadness and grief. 


A few years later, still grieving, I received a phone call from a college roommate asking if I wanted to join her in Old Snowmass, Colorado. 


I spent several years in that blessed splendid land. Those mountains spoke so deeply to me, that I have written a trilogy of plays based there that was then adapted to a novel and a screenplay.


But those “Shining Mountains,” as the Ute Indians call them, were not done with me yet. When Wid Bastion and Kwen Griffeth called on me to join their anthology and I withdrew into a brown study, when I came out, I knew what to write about. Once again, I would take myself back to that gorgeous country, The Roaring Fork Valley, and the time I spent there grieving and recovering from my mother’s shocking death.


That was my starting point. Authors are often asked—where do your stories come from? Everywhere. A piece of dialogue overheard. A person glimpsed that grows into a character. A place. The Roaring Fork Valley was that place. But as I contemplated the story, my main character began to grow. She was not me. She was herself:  Rayne Falken and she had her own story to tell.


And tell it she would, if I would only listen. And so, I did. I listened to Rayne, and to Zander Quinn and to Matthias Stalking Grey Wolf, and to Rayne’s father John Ray, and to their past and to their dreams of the future.


I enjoyed the experience so much, that I have decided to make another trilogy out of this story. I just can’t quit those Shining Mountains, or the myriad characters who inhabit them.




 







Kayelle AllenAuthor of the Bringer of Chaos Series

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I read constantly, both for entertainment and to learn. I believe that an author who does not read is 1) denying herself the same pleasure she wants her readers to experience and 2) missing out on what's going on in market. How can you write with a fresh approach if you don't even know what's happening? Reading is research, study, and entertainment all in one.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me. I have to stop myself from sitting too long by setting alarms. At the end of the day, because I've spent so much time working, I'm tired in a different way than if I had done physical work.

Did you study writing in school, or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or, have you learned everything on your own?

I took formal classes, but I am mostly self-taught. I have a big library of books about writing and I use them. In the last year, I've probably read a dozen or more books on the topic, plus more blog posts than I can count. Recently, I've been studying the Save the Cat format and even bought the software. It's a great tool for structuring a story and provides a language to use when discussing it. My writer friends who are studying it also know exactly what part of a story I'm writing if I say I wrote the break into two, or the dark night of the soul. I am rarely without a book on the topic of writing. In addition, I am in two critique groups and we often discuss and share books about writing.






Jane RiddellWriter of contemporary accessible literary fiction novels and humorous novellas

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Yes, I do.  Reading never distracts me  - I usually only read books when I’m in bed - and often is helpful as it is a chance to study how other authors write. If I like their style, I can then learn how to adopt it in my own work. If there are things about the writing that I don’t like, it acts as a reminder of how not to do things - including too much backstory; go off at a tangent, on-the-nose dialogue, over use of metaphor and simile – the list is endless!

Did you study writing in school, or take extra classes to develop your craft? Or, have you learned everything on your own?

I did a Masters in Creative Writing which taught me a bit, but unfortunately was too based on literary theory to be as helpful as I’d hoped. What has helped is reading books on the craft of writing, working with a mentor and receiving feedback from fellow writers.

If you’ve ever had it, or might at some point, how do you cure a case of writer’s block?

When I experienced writer’s block, I spent months reading technical books on writing and making copious notes. I also blogged a lot at this time. So although I wasn’t progressing with my WIP, I was still doing some writing and learning more about the craft. What helped get me out of it, I think, was working with a mentor for a year. Having someone engage so thoroughly with my work helped me finish writing the book. It didn’t happen immediately… I was lucky enough to work with someone who charged an affordable (and unrealistically low) rate.

Sometimes writer’s block can be caused by other things going on in a writer’s life, which is unavoidable. With me, it was because my aunt had suffered a bad stroke and I’d also had a difficult experience when studying for my Masters (ironically). When life is difficult, the writer might need to take a break until she/he has the energy to continue writing.

Writer’s block may also happen if a writer isn’t happy with the WIP, or parts of it. In this case, it’s important to weed out parts that don’t work, painful as this might be, and rewrite. 

Perceived wisdom is to make yourself write each day, even if it’s just for half an hour. The enthusiasm may then return.




Giulietta M. SpudichChildren's author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

It depends where I am in the process. If I am brainstorming and allowing my characters and story to evolve reflectively, in 'creation phase', I don't read fiction novels. But if I'm editing and I have long periods between sessions, I read loads of fiction. My mind normally tells me if it wants input or not- so I don't have to make the choice in a conscious way- I either want to read someone else's story or live with my own.

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? What does it mean to you?

“The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before.” -Neil Gaiman

It brings to my mind the inspiring part of creating a character or scene or story, and making the world a little bit fuller.





Cindy TomamichelMulti-genre authorescape the everyday

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I do NaNoWriMo (National Write a Novel in November) every year, and the focus I need to produce 50,000 words in a month means I don’t read during November – mid December. The rest of the time I read to refresh myself,  and to get some distance from my own characters. And, of course, because books are awesome!

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Social media is an enormous time-suck. There is also a tendency for new writers to talk more about their writing than actually write. Writers write!

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? What does it mean to you?

“I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.” - Edgar Rice Burroughs

This means a lot to me as I grew up reading his Tarzan books, and try to make sure my books are full of action. It also forces me not to be too precious about a book, which is after all, something I make up to entertain people.





D.E. Haggerty Writer, Blogger, Book Addict

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I can’t live without reading. Like, seriously. Cannot live without it. So, I’m always reading. But I have recently found that I can’t read rom coms when I’m working on one, as I start changing my character’s sense of humor to match whatever I’m reading. Yikes!





Mark H. Newhousemulti-award winning author of children's and adult books and stories

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I love reading, but find it difficult to find time when I'm in the heart of a writing project. I think all writers need to be readers to master our art and see what others are doing.

What inspired you to write? or What inspired your latest work?

My latest novel, The Devil's Bookkeepers, was inspired when I discovered a copy of the chronicle of the Holocaust ghetto my parents were among the few to survive. I wrote this suspenseful novel as a tribute to them and everyone who experiences hate and genocide, past, present and future.

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

When I write my award-winning humorous mysteries, Welcome to Monstrovia, The Case of the Disastrous Dragon, and The Case of the Crazy Chickenscratches, I want children to see underdog heroes who use their intelligence, courage and resourcefulness, to solve problems rather than violence and magic. I want them to laugh as they learn about the law and solve mysteries that can only happen in Monstrovia.

www.newhousecreativegroup.com
Amazon author Page amazon.com/author/markhnewhouse




Sue Raymond/Lady LaindoraMulti-genre Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?  

Yes, it helps my brain to relax so it doesn't have a brain freeze in the middle of the story.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project?

Depending on the genre the research can be as short as a few hours to several weeks of intense research for accuracy to keep the story believable. It can be a terrible distraction to a reader if the story is riddled, full of inaccuracy.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process? 

The most difficult part of my artistic process is being sidetracked by normal every day chores.

Links: 





Chris KarlsenInternational Bestselling Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I do read books for entertainment and to relax my mind. I do a lot of research for my stories. My past series have involved nautical archaeology or in the case of historical romance, the medieval period. My current series and the book I am working on, which is number four, is set in Victorian England. The intense research required can be daunting. I need to be able to step away and mentally go to another place.

I’ll relax with a historical that is totally different than the history in my stories. For example, I love Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Tales. The protagonist is a Saxon raised by Danes in the ninth century. They’re gritty with a lot of battles and politics of the time. Or I can dive into the modern world with Michael Connolly and Joe Wambaugh’s cop stories.

I can also read other books in my genres without fear of distraction. When I am writing a new story, I am deep into those characters and that world. I think because of that focus, it is easy for me to keep separate the world of my books for entertainment and my current work. 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I want both. I write each story as a standalone with the reader who hasn’t read the others in the series in mind. I never want the reader to feel lost. That said, I really enjoy building my protagonist’s world. I enjoy filling that world with a variety of people. In almost all of the stories, I find at least one support character if not more that I really like. I know when I am writing them in the current story I will be giving them their own book. 

I personally like to read series books. When I like a series, I am invested in the people and want to follow them. I like seeing what happens to them at various points in the setting. I have books like that or in the case of some of my stories I will take the same protagonist through different troubling scenarios. 

Most of my writer friends gear their stories to fit the series format. Other friends, mainly those who write short stories for anthologies, concentrate on standalone books. I think there’s an advantage to writing for a series. With my readers I have characters they want to see again.





Dana LittlejohnRomance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?
Yes, I continue to read even while I'm writing. I read a completely different genre or graphic novels to keep me focused on what I'm writing.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing totally energizes me. I'm always pumped up after writing. It takes me a while to disconnect from the scene/characters and return to the outside world.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching a book project?

My research has always been compiled of reading about "it", talking to folks that have actually done "it" and, if at all possible, doing it myself to get hands on knowledge. The length depends on how long it takes me to get comfortable with the subject.




Nancy Wood – Mystery Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process? 

Absolutely. When I'm writing, I read and read and read in my genre, which is mysteries. I find that reading mysteries brings an added dimension to my writing. I'm always curious about how other authors set up clues and red herrings and plot twists. There is nothing like a cleverly plotted book with a strong heroine for inspiration! If I'm stuck, the entertainment factor of a good mystery will completely pull me out of my blocked spot. 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? 

My mysteries are a series. That said, it was five years between Books 1 and 2 in the series, and I found that I had to do a lot of backstory in the second book in order to connect it with the first book. But, I also had to make sure the second book could stand on its own as well. It was a delicate balance of filling in details without giving away the entire plot of the first book! I am working on the third book now and hope to finish it sooner, rather than later, so there is more continuity.




KaitlynzqAdult Literary Fiction, Poetry, Romance

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

There are so many wonderful, talented authors, and I save reading their work when I’m not writing, which these days, I’m always writing in some ways… one of my stories in progress, or in ways to continue to promote my published books.

What inspired your latest work?

My inspirations come from the interior spaces within my heart, and within other people, moments by moments, and within precious natural elements like the layers inside of a tree.

For my first series, Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu, a continual prompt from my heart told me to begin, and the stories revealed themselves the more I wrote. One emotion filled layer after another. Instead of a chronological set, the books included in the series are inter-connected, meaning interior connected.

With interior poetic stanzas hinted at in Legend of Song de Light that bloom into full poems in Ancient Script of Lovecontu to then step within notes of love within Legend of Song de Light,as a “Yes, ..., I, ..., will meet you tonight.”

Interwoven in the depths of the realms of a heart’s wave, heart’s song, heart’s breath within Ancient Script of Lovecontu audio poem, Legend of Song de Light audio book, Legend of Song de Light audio play, and Lovecontu Song de Light Lovecontu audio set.

Links:  kaitlynzq.com




Carole McKeeRomance Writer

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I definitely do read books for entertainment while I'm writing. I also do a review for every book I read.

What kind of research do I do and how much time do I spend on research? 

It depends on the subject. Some research requires a simple one sentence answer, while other subjects require much more in depth searching.








Ann (Ana) MorrisAward-Winning Bilingual Children's Author


Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I know where my focus is on each project and always keep my inspiration options open. I love movies and books of various genres. I am usually reading two to three books at a time for my own enjoyment while working on other projects. I especially like things that challenge my thinking process. I love history and historical fiction that plant seeds for further research. I also read lighthearted books for a break. I review nearly every book I read. I do not usually seek books to review, but I feel reviewing is part of the reading and writing process. It also serves the authors and the prospective readers of the works I have read.

Writers need to read. That is our craft. Reading to writers is like musicians listening to music. I write children’s books, so my answer may vary from that of novelists. As I am fluently bilingual in English and Spanish, I saw a need for children’s books in Spanish as well. I taught High School Spanish for nearly twenty years and used them in the classroom for several types of activities. For this reason, I use my English name (Ann Morris) for my books in English, and my Spanish name (Ana Morris) for my books in Spanish.

I would recommend to a new writer that if you have a common name like I do, use another version of your name or another name completely. I have learned that there is another author of children’s books with the same name as mine. It confuses our public images.

I am a professional translator of both languages and have translated several picture books as well as other types of documents. As it is, I have many interests and many projects. If I ever seem temporarily stumped with one project, I merely move to another, and I continue to accomplish something, which is encouraging.






Madison MichaelRomance Author




Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?


I absolutely read while I write. First, for the chance to get out of my own head for a while, and second because reading great writing can't help but make me a better writer. I love beautiful prose, appreciate the way other author's view and describe the world around them and hell, I admit it; I 'borrow' ideas from their sex scenes. 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I create books with common characters who create a common thread between them, but each story is complete and can stand on its own. I intended when creating my Beguiling Bachelor Series to write four standalone novels with a shared setting. But after the first two books, readers started asking me for more of Randall or told me how much they wanted to see where Wyatt and Keeli's romance led. That was when I happily complied with their wishes and began creating standalone novels with recurring characters. It was also when I extended my series beyond the original four planned novels. I am now working on a new Beguiling Bachelor project. 

What inspired you to write? or What inspired your latest work?

When I was a little girl I read a book about a little girl who wanted to be a writer and I internalized that character in every respect. The book was from the Betsy, Tracy and Tib series by Maud Hart Lovelace. If the trio built a fort, my girlfriends and I built a fort. If they bicycled through the forest, we scoured the neighborhood for a wooded place to do the same. My girlfriends and I did everything Betsy, Tracy and Tib did - to the best of our abilities. So of course, if the book character wanted to be a writer, so did I. As I aged, that writing bent turned toward journalism, then marketing, then management until it was lost. When I retired, I rekindled the flame and started writing for the joy of it. So far, I haven't lost that passion.


My latest work takes place in Sonoma during the fires that so badly ravaged wine country in 2017. I no longer live in California, but I lived in the Bay Area for almost a decade and visited many of the places I would hear about on the radio during the blaze. One interview, with the owner of a winery that was partially destroyed grabbed my attention. I decided then and there to set my next book in the fires and make my hero someone finding love while dealing with the loss of his vines, and his livelihood.

How do you cope with bad reviews?

This is easy to answer - learn from them. My first one-star reviewer wrote that my characters were 'in their heads too much'. When I read again what she reviewed, she was spot on. I had created the common new writer mistake - all tell, no show. I learned from it, and hopefully became a better writer. Remember that anyone who takes the time to leave a review, good or bad, is engaged enough to say something. Usually it merits attention. By the way, that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. Reviewers, remember we have feelings too. Be gentle and constructive when you criticize us. 





Dianne HartsockM/M Multi-genre Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

I read constantly! For both entertainment and otherwise. I’ve been a bookworm since before I knew my letters, pretending to read picture books to my younger brothers and sister. At the moment I’m reading two separate books along with several others I dip into from time to time, romances and sci-fi and crime/drama at the moment. I don’t think they detract from my writing at all. Rather, they give my busy mind a break and I can go back to my own projects with renewed enthusiasm.

I also read for research, one of my favorite parts of writing! I now have a head full of trivia, some of it fun, lots of it disturbing, especially when I’m writing my psychic/serial killer stories. But then I find police procedure and homicide investigation fascinating, so there’s that. 

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I never start out meaning to write a series. When I wrote ALEX, my psychic, I meant it to be a standalone book. But it turned out Alex had a lot more to tell me. I now have three books in the series with a fourth being plotted out. But each can stand on its own as well. As a reader, I find nothing more frustrating than to begin a book and realize it’s from the middle of a series and I’ll never know what’s going on without reading the previous books. I feel cheated and will rarely buy the rest of the books. I never want to do that to one of my readers.

Do you have a favorite quote about writing? What does it mean to you?

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” –Stephen King

This! Right here. I absolutely love writing, everything about it, from that first thrill of inspiration, the first sentence on the page, to the research and finally writing the last sentence of the story. But it’s work. I wake up an hour early to write before I go to work, spend my lunch break usually on research. In the evening I spend time with family, then back to writing until much later than I should. Then up the next morning to do the same. And don’t get me started on the promoting! Like I said, I love writing, but come with sleeves rolled up, ready to work. 







Eliot GraysonM/M Romance Author

Do you read books for entertainment while you’re working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

Yes, I definitely do. Reading is my primary form of entertainment, and so that's mainly how I spend my leisure time, whether I'm currently working on a book or not. I find that if what I'm reading is similar to what I'm writing, it'll influence me too much. For example, if I'm writing a historical novel I try not to read other historical novels in between writing. On the other hand, sometimes that's a good thing; if I can't get myself into the right mindset, I'll pick up a Jane Austen novel so that my brain's in a drawing-room instead of, say, in the Impala with the boys from Supernatural (just to pick an example entirely at random, ahem). One thing I can't do is read anything too deep or absorbing. My process, such as it is, involves letting part of my mind work away on plotting or characterization while I'm doing other things, so I have to stick to fairly light reading, or books I'm not too invested in, so that I can still be working on my own book in the background of my head -- sort of like background processes on a PC. I don't like reading nonfiction for pleasure at all while I'm writing, which I think puts me in the weird minority.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both! It's always exhausting to focus on anything for the length of time it takes to get a good chunk of words out, but it's exhilarating to make your daily word count, finish a chapter that you know is good, or finish a book. The most energizing feeling of all is when I solve a problem with the plot, or figure out just the right way for a character to react. Those "Aha!" moments when you feel like you're a brilliant amazing genius make it all worthwhile.


How do you cope with bad reviews?

I think this gets easier for authors with a ton of reviews (in the thousands), because they simply can't read them all. I look forward to that day! For now, sometimes I just complain to my husband (I'm sure he loves that), read one of the good reviews, or walk around and shake it off. A friend of mine who's in that thousands-of-reviews category told me never to read my reviews, because no good comes of it. It's great advice, but I've found it impossible to take. I think the best way to keep it from getting to you is to remember that there are people out there who don't like ice cream. Seriously. There's someone out there who dislikes everything, including your awesome book. And there are a ton of people who'll love it.




 


Branka Čubrilo - Author

 

Do you read books for entertainment while you're working on a writing project, or do you believe it will detract from your process?

 

Not only do I believe that reading other books would detract me from my own process, but I know it for sure. Such practice is not for me as I have a certain style of writing and I don’t need any other influences in any way. I need my own space, my own thoughts and the rhythm of my own sentences. I don’t care about other books whilst I am building my own story. There are no similarities between my stories and others and I want to keep my most independent thought and structure. It is all about my characters and me, and in that moment I don’t care about anything else. 

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Often young writers have unrealistic expectations from both sides, firstly from themselves, and secondly from the readership. Whilst it is important to have self-confidence as a writer, a trap could be overpraising your own work. Let others talk about your work instead of doing it as if no one ever wrote a book before you.
I know a few authors who do that and it can be off-putting, and it can present an author in completely different light. Self-promotion can be good if it is done carefully. I personally never believe that I have written a really great book, but I always promise myself that the next one will be something much better. I wait for others to tell me their thoughts, often I am not too sure whether they are trying to flatter or whether it is the complete truth. Self-doubt can be a good thing. I don’t think you should be too harsh of a self-critic and be completely insecure about your own work, but a good dose of soberness is helpful. 

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part often is the language itself. I am a perfectionist, my sentence needs to sing, I need the rhythm that is in my head put down on paper and sometimes it needs time to fit the ‘perfect’ word. English is not my first language, even though I am fluent in it, I have been working as a professional interpreter and translator for years and I write in two languages and I always need to find those ‘perfect’ words. Sometimes I need to dig deep, think and rethink my sentence over and swap around several words in order to find the right one. Even though my story might fly without any difficulties, more often than not for me it is not a question of the story, or plot, for me the question is the language: how to make it beautiful, meaningful, full of rhythm and rhyme. For me language is everything: my medium, my way of communicating with myself and others, a known or unknown reader, it is a gateway into other worlds. Hence it is crucial to understanding the world around and inside me.  

What do you want to accomplish with your writing?

I look around me and I see how imperfect the world is, often how sad the state of affairs of humans is. I see injustice everywhere, I see politics that I don’t agree with, I see poor, sick, discriminated people and I don’t have any other means of helping such groups but by writing down their stories and showing the world their troubles caused by inequality. I don’t march, I don’t organize protests or anything similar. I write about the human condition and I can’t offer any solution, but I can make people think and feel. That’s my skill, and that’s what I do. This is most obvious in my latest book Dethroned, where I talk a lot about human tragedy, war, displacement, unfairness, greed, dishonest politicians and clergymen … I point out where problems lie, I talk about things people don’t want to talk about out loud but rather in the quietness of their homes. They sit and read and they tell me that I often ‘change their world or their perspective’. 


So, that’d be the right answer to your question = What do I want to accomplish with my writing: to make people think, feel and even, if possible, act in some way.   

What inspired you to write? or What inspired your latest work?

And to this question I can add from the previous answer - what really inspired me was the injustice which had been done to my own country; lies, falsified history, bad propaganda, mass hysteria, and this injustice hasn’t been fixed yet. I don’t claim that I have fixed the injustice just with one book (Dethroned), but I tried to explain the causes of the war, what really happened in this part of the world, who was who and how wars are continuations from previous ones, ones that have never really been finished, regardless of the passage of time.
I hope those answers do satisfy your readers, and thank you for including me in your project.

http://brankacubriloauthor.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Branka-Cubrilo/e/B0052Y00I6/

  
  

Well, there you have it. I hope we’ve given you a glimpse into the writer’s life, or at least the mindset for each author. As both writer and reader, I always find it fascinating to learn how the process works for every novelist. Plus, maybe this made you curious about the authors you haven’t heard of here. Perhaps you’d like to look over some of their books?


And for new writers, we’ve likely offered some food for thought.

In any case, have a lovely weekend, and happy reading, everyone! :)

26 comments:

  1. Wowsa! Great job Marie. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to share our thoughts outside of our WIP! Warm regards, Sally Brandle-Author of suspense and sizzling romance without intimate scenes.

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  2. Great post! So neat to see so many authors coming together. I am honored to be included.

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  3. Congratulations on 500 post and what a wonderful collection of material on the writing process. You almost have a book here!

    www.thepulpitandthepen.com

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  4. Thank you, Marie. Great to be in good company.

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  5. Thanks so much for including my comments, Marie, and congratulations. It's amazing to see such diversity of opinions and thoughts. Great to be in such company!

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  6. Thank you so much for having me, I'm honored to be part of such fantastic group of Authors!

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  7. Thank you so much for hosting us today Marie! <3

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  8. Thanks so much for this! Wow!

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    1. You're welcome! I think it turned out fantastic, and now readers can discover more favorite authors! ;)

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  9. Thanks for doing this, Marie. What an awesome group of authors.!
    Beverley

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  10. Fun post, Marie. The answers were as unique and diverse as all the authors who participated! Shared. :)

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  11. Oh, and congrats on the 500th post anniversary! Quite an accomplishment and a reason to celebrate!

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  12. A. B. FunkhauserJune 16, 2019 at 5:54 PM

    What a fantastic achievement, Marie. So happy to be a part of this. Shared and retweeted.

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  13. Great post. There are so many opinions and ways to do things. It's a wonderful list!

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